A Tale of Two States: PA booms while NY suffers
Submitted by admin on Wed, 09/28/2011 - 19:32
‘If it wasn’t for the gas business, none of these people would be working right now,” David Dalrymple said, pointing to one of his crews building a road in Athens Township, Pa.
By “gas business,” he meant drilling made possible by “fracking” -- a process for extracting natural gas that’s legal in Pennsylvania but not yet in New York.
I was riding shotgun with the CEO of Dalrymple Holdings, an Elmira, NY-based family business (since 1902!) whose 300 employees in New York and Virginia build roads, bridges and airports.
Dalrymple’s company is one of about a dozen private contractors in the area that have snared contracts to construct roads for the many new well sites that fracking has spawned.
His good fortune is just a part of the robust activity that I was seeing in Pennsylvania’s Northern Tier, thanks to fracking -- and that is painfully absent across the border in New York’s Southern Tier, where it does not yet exist.
Indeed, the region is not only enjoying a boom in jobs, such as those at Dalrymple, but also new investment in infrastructure, such as the top-quality roads the company builds.
What’s more, the roads are paid for by the gas companies. And though they’re being constructed to handle heavy truck traffic to the wells, they’re available to everyone -- and everyone benefits.
Pennsylvania’s blessing came at a good time. “Here, we are very fortunate to be living in a cocoon of prosperity,” said Greg Zyla. He’d just taken over as publisher of The Daily/Sunday Review in Towanda, Pa., when the 2008-09 recession hit. With newspapers across the country folding, his has expanded to include a trade publication, The Northeast Driller -- “the voice of the drilling marketplace.”
Dalrymple, who also chairs the board of a local bank, noted that the boom from gas development in Pennsylvania has even spilled across the border into New York and helped small businesses there...