Sean O'Leary, a senior researcher with the Ohio River Valley Institute, challenged Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette's claims about natural gas and petrochemical-driven job growth in a recent article on TribLive.
"When statistics fly in the face of what we see around us, we usually don’t reject the statistics. We just assume we see only a tiny part of a bigger picture and that, in the bigger picture, the statistics are probably true even if they don’t jive with our reality.
"So when people in Greene County, which has seen a huge surge of natural gas production but almost no growth in jobs, hear U.S. Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette claim the oil and gas industry is employing 300,000 people in Pennsylvania, they probably assume all that job growth is happening in other big gas-producing counties like Susquehanna and Bradford in Northeast Pennsylvania.
"Meanwhile, when folks in Susquehanna and Bradford, who have also seen huge growth in gas production and little in jobs, hear Brouillette’s claims, they assume he’s referring to Greene County and Southwest Pennsylvania," writes O'Leary.
"The problem is that the natural gas-driven economic revival Brouillette is talking about isn’t happening anywhere in the region and most certainly not in the counties mentioned above that bear most of the costs of fracking. That’s even more true in Ohio, where seven counties that produce over 90% of that state’s natural gas have lost over 7,000 jobs since the beginning of the fracking boom in 2007. That’s as of the end of 2019, before the covid-19 crisis made the losses even greater."