Don't believe these fracking jobs numbers

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Thank you to PG reporter Anya Litvak but no kudos to the headline writer of the Sept. 4 article on fracking jobs projections ("Shale Study Promises Huge Gains, 3.3 Million Jobs by '20"). The headline did the industry's work, trumpeting the latest deceptive jobs "projection" straight into the media echo chamber. Thank you to Ms. Litvak for noting that these studies are industry-funded, using industry- provided data to generate those unbelievable numbers.

The gas industry is desperate to take its profits from Pennsylvania's farms and countryside before the public grasps what happened to the state's major industries of farming, tourism and outdoor recreation. Countries across the ocean watch Pennsylvania as the poster child for self-destruction.

These jobs studies are the industry's best investment. They keep people's heads turned one way, looking for help in difficult times, while people and farm animals are made sick, toxic material moves through old and new crevices and the much-touted "layers" of concrete deteriorate underground. Peer-reviewed science documents movement of this toxic material. Doctors are finally beginning to speak out about the human poisoning they are seeing.

And those jobs numbers are phony. Hiding behind a formula, they count thousands of existing jobs, jobs having nothing to do with fracking, as "supported by fracking." They include temporary, highly part-time, often low-paid work, while implying permanence. They use assumptions about "indirect" and "induced" spending that only they can substantiate. Now we have a new word to add to industry-speak -- "counterfactual." Are we really as gullible as they hope we are?

CLAUDIA DETWEILER
Squirrel Hill


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