Corbett: Opponents of Shale are 'Economic Change Deniers'

  • Gov. Tom Corbett at the DUG East shale gas convention in Pittsburgh. Photo: Reid R. Frazier

November 14, 2013

At a shale gas conference in Pittsburgh, Gov. Tom Corbett defended his policies promoting drilling in the state, and defended his own math, too. 

Corbett, who is running for re-election, said drilling under his watch was responsible for a vast economic lift to the state. "More than 200,000 jobs have either been created, made more prosperous or made more secure" by the drilling boom brought on by fracking in Pennsylvania. 

“That number of course seems to bother some out there," said Corbett. 

The governor was referring to economists who pointed out to StateImpact PA that many of those jobs are only indirectly related to the shale industry and would exist regardless of the shale boom.

Although the 200,000 number comes from a state jobs report, it said direct jobs in the industry are really around 30,000. Corbett floated a new name for people who questioned the jobs impact of shale—'economic change deniers'.

"Opponents are finding a few economists who are willing to say 20,000 to 30,000 jobs held directly in the industry...eh. really don’t mean so much," Corbett said.

Among those 200,000 Pennysylvanians working in jobs related to the industry is Richard Cunningham. He's general manager of Millennium Torque & Tensioning, Inc., an Eighty Four, Pa. tool manufacturer who was at the shale drilling convention, DUG East. 

Cunningham was at the convention showing off his company's tools, including an "air-driven gear multiplier"—essentially an industrial strength screw gun that his company sells to oil and gas companies.

Since the beginning of the shale boom, the company has grown from two employees to eight at its Washington County shop. Cunningham said overall, Corbett’s been good for his industry.

“Fracking has increased our business three-fold, we’ve doubled, tripled in the last couple years,” he said.