Leveraging the Shale Energy Opportunity

Historically, the extraction of non-renewable resources is typically characterized by an economic boom-bust cycle experienced by local communities (and surrounding Regions). Local economies go through a rapid increase in economic activity driven by the influx of outside investment, people moving into the community, creation of new jobs and the attendant rise in disposable income. But, when the resource is depleted the boom is followed by an equally rapid decrease in commercial activity that leads to an economic bust. The risk of this cycle occurring in communities impacted by the shale energy industry is described in a working paper entitled “How Should We Think About the Economic Consequences of Shale Gas Drilling?” authored by Susan Christopherson and Ned Rightor.

However, 80% of the community impact of the shale energy industry is predictable. And as such, it can be planned for.

The purpose of this Place BrandAID project is to help economic development professionals in communities impacted by the shale energy industry work collaboratively with both industry and local leaders to develop local long-term strategic plans that ensure the legacy of the industry is sustained economic prosperity rather than the economic destruction created by a boom-bust cycle. We will do that by providing 1) access to the resources required to promote a factual understanding of the shale energy industry and 2) education on the process for creating effective long-term strategic plans.

Like the great work we did as a professional community in making a positive difference in those communities impacted by the BP oil spill, we will make a positive difference in communities impacted by the shale energy industry. Collaboratively we will help ensure the commercialization of shale energy is good for both local economies and for our Nation.