Mr. Danish does readers and himself a disservice (“Fracking out of a recession,” July 12) when he claims pervasive, orbital, oracular knowledge after reading one bullet point in an international economics magazine. Like an infinite number of monkeys, a 10-year-old can collect diverse data that seem impressive and pawn them off as authoritative.
State unemployment rates say nothing. North Dakota’s labor force was very small before “fracking;” immigration of even a few hundred workers who already claim jobs will move the needle. Montana is similarly tiny. Pennsylvania has plenty of manufacturing, agriculture, finance and, yes, mining (coal and limestone). Colorado attracts people regardless of employment. Danish grasps at straws, inferring an association between unemployment stats and gas drilling. I was an economist long enough to know that unemployment data are only slightly more credible than inflation metrics.
I was also a land agent for two oil majors. Hearing Anadarko is “investing $1 billion a year in leases” shows Danish has never been anywhere near a royalty accountant. Many leases are canceled — title failure, lack of access, budget changes and landowner “problems” can mean the bank draft isn’t honored. Not all expenditures go to the landowner, in any event. Danish, true to top-leasing form, fails to disclose whether those expenditures are advance royalties, rentals or production sharing. I doubt he knows the difference, which is material to the timing and durability of income to the land.
Gas drilling jobs aren’t durable. Gas wells do not require periodic visits by a collection truck. When the drillers move down the road, fewer eggs are cracked at the local truck stop. Did Danish say fracked wells have shorter production lives than “old-fashioned” wells? No. Today’s wells have economic lifetimes measured in months, not years. Then what? Drill some more? Probably, unfortunately. This exploitation is similar to the boom-and-bust endured by Nevada’s Virginia City and around Sutter’s Mill, in California. Ask the people of Parachute and Rifle what their bust was like. The end result? The rich become richer. I have sufficient “pathological” progressive blood to think enough is enough. In how many Aspen homes can one family live at a time, anyway?
Danish must know even those who do not live in glass houses are subject to the same derisive offal he sends to those who with sound reason disagree with him. What goes around really does come around. I keep hoping Danish reaches a level of understanding so what the facts mean might register. Alas, he remains lost somewhere in the refutable, sketchy and disreputable bits of disinformation that pepper his writing. Such statements as Danish offers are beyond shameful. No discount is sufficient to them.