Albany needs only to look west to the frigid plains of North Dakota for practical advice on whether to allow exploitation of the abundant natural gas in the shale that sits thousands of feet below the farm fields of New York’s Southern Tier all the way north into Oswego County.
Below the plains of North Dakota is the Bakken Shale. The energy industry has used hydraulic fracturing to extract nearly a million barrels of oil a day from the earth. The private investment in North Dakota to successfully produce this gusher of oil has resulted in dramatic increases in population driven by the plethora of high-paying jobs in the oil fields. The state reports that the average oil field worker earns $91,400 a year, double the average wage in the state. Three of the top 10 fastest-growing small cities in the United States are in North Dakota.