An initially playful remark by an upstate New York town official about seceding to Pennsylvania after New York State banned hydraulic fracturing in December has spurred community interest into the possibility.
The statement came late last year from Jim Finch, a supervisor for the town of Conklin, located along the northern border of Pennsylvania in New York’s Southern Tier.
According to a statement by the Upstate New York Towns Association, Finch’s initial remark about secession was in response to the state’s ban on hydraulic fracturing or fracking, the controversial deep drilling process to extract natural gas from shale rock – as well as a decision by the state to back casinos in upstate areas not including the Southern Tier.
Finch’s town, along with others in the area sit atop the gas-rich Marcellus shale rock formation. If drilling companies were allowed to practice fracking that would mean additional jobs, as well as revenue for the economically depressed area.
“The Southern Tier is desolate,” Finch told local media. “We have no jobs and no income. The richest resource we have is in the ground.”
The town association, which represents around 15 upstate New York towns, began comparing taxes, as well as the cost of doing business in New York versus Pennsylvania.