The New York Times reports that the Pittsburgh International Airport is joining the many Pennsylvania landowners who are tapping the natural gas abundance of the Marcellus Shale:
Pittsburgh’s airport is struggling financially and mired in debt, with sharply lower traffic ever since US Airways began phasing it out as a bustling hub in 2004. Long gone are the days when British Airways flew 747s to London, and TWA flew to Frankfurt.
For salvation, airport officials are looking down — about 6,000 feet. The quiet runways, it turns out, are sitting on enough natural gas to run the whole state of Pennsylvania for a year and a half, and this month, Consol Energy will drill its first well here to tap the gas, which county officials say will bring them nearly half a billion dollars over the next 20 years.
The well is outside the airport fence but, with horizontal drilling, it will extract the rich deposits that lie under the terminals and runways.
Developing natural gas below a metropolitan airport isn’t new. Both the Denver and Dallas-Fort Worth airports earn millions annually from the energy underneath.
Natural gas production from the Marcellus Shale is going sky-high, and there are no signs that will let up.
Responsible energy development is helping Pennsylvanians by creating thousands of jobs and offering landowners additional revenue streams. Just as it sees the opportunities in the sky above, Pittsburgh's airport also sees the opportunities below. Unfortunately New York State residents also living above the Marcellus Shale are left out because of a state moratorium on hydraulic fracturing.
Follow Sean Hackbarth on Twitter at @seanhackbarth and the U.S. Chamber at @uschamber.