The impact of natural gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing could have a significant and debilitating impact on tourism in the southern part of New York state, according to a new study from a regional planning board there.
The study, done by the Cornell University doctoral candidate Andrew Rumbach at the behest of the Southern Tier Central Regional Planning and Development Board (STC), whose jurisdiction includes Chemung, Steuben and Schuyler counties, examined the cumulative impact of drilling and specifically, hydraulic fracturing in both the short and long term.
The study found that, in the short term, the area might enjoy some immediate economic benefit but, in the long term, could experience a significant economic degradation in an area heavily dependent on tourism.
From the study:
Individual gas wells and drilling activity, while disruptive at a local scale, will likely have very little impact on the tourism sector. Cumulatively, however, the regional industrialization associated with widespreaddrilling could do substantial damage to the region’s “brand,” threatening the long-‐term growth of tourism here. Increased truck traffic, automobile traffic, air pollution, noise pollution, and industrial accidents, decreased availability of hotel/motel rooms, campground spaces, and RV parking, negative visual impacts from multiple drilling rigs in rural view-‐sheds,storage facilities, gravel pits, and compressor stations, disruptions to wildlife and hunting grounds, fears over lake and stream pollution and many other associated impacts of drilling will change the character of the region from pristine and rural to gritty and industrial. If so, the region’s ability to attract tourism may be damaged in the long-‐term, as the perception (and reality) of the region as an industrial landscape may far outlast the employment and monetary benefits of gas drilling.
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