Could Ohio, New York or Pennsylvania be the next North Dakota and "frack" its way to budget surpluses?
The United States is on track by 2020 to become the world's largest oil producer and a net exporter of natural gas, a reversal of fortunes with huge consequences for many state budgets. But it depends on what kinds of taxes the states want to impose. States as varied as Pennsylvania and Louisiana have already lost out on hundreds of millions of dollars from the energy boom because of their tax policies, while Texas and North Dakota continue to cash in.
The boom in oil and natural gas production is due to the common but highly controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking, and horizontal drilling, both of which have allowed companies to reach oil and gas deposits that previously were trapped in shale and other "tight" rock formations. Energy companies insist the process is no threat to nearby groundwater; environmentalists generally disagree.