Opinion: Ohio-Made Energy Is Essential to Modern Life


Greg Mason - InsideSources.com



From the hand sanitizer in our bags to the life-changing medicine in our cabinets, and from advanced medical equipment to the Band-Aids in our first-aid kits, natural gas and oil is essential to modern life.

The natural gas and oil Ohio produces does more than heat homes and fuel our cars, as nearly every consumer product we touch is manufactured using these raw materials.

National political discussions are missing the mark. A ban on “fracking,” the technology that is unleashing Ohio’s energy abundance, would wreak havoc on working families, the strength of our state’s economy, our environment, and the manufacturing of the very products we all need.

With Ohio’s position as a key battleground state and a leading producer of American natural gas and oil, residents deserve the facts, data and clear-eyed analysis of the value responsible energy development creates.

America’s surge in energy production has created generational benefits for Ohioans. State data and independent academic research shows that it supports more than 200,000 family sustaining Ohio careers, has saved Ohioans $45 billion in home energy costs since 2011, and has made Ohio a leader in clean air progress.

Over the past decade, more than $78 billion has been invested in shale-related activities here, according to an analysis from Cleveland State University. Those tens-of-billions of dollars have meant full diners, new small businesses, and economic development spanning from Marietta to Toledo.

Take the 500 acres of land purchased by Orin Holdings just up Route 7 from Steubenville, for example. A few weeks ago, the company and Jefferson County officials announced the acquisition, which is slated to house two state-of-the-art gas-to-liquids plants in Saline Township.

From the Ohio Valley, the owners saw the opportunity abundant, affordable natural gas presents, to establish new manufacturing and create good-paying careers for hundreds of local residents. This facility, coupled with the proposed PTT Global ethane cracker plant along the Ohio River in Belmont County, will permanently employ hundreds of our local, high-skilled Ohioans, bringing good-paying jobs to a region that for so long saw manufacturing move away.

And that’s not to mention the thousands of local building and union trade members who’ve been hard at work constructing new manufacturing facilities, natural gas power generators, and energy infrastructure.

For the past decade, we’ve all benefited from Ohio’s leadership as the nation’s fifth largest natural gas and a leading oil producer. Should a ban on hydraulic fracturing take hold, economic data tells us the Appalachian Basin would see an erosion of these broadly shared benefits.

According to analysis from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, approximately 700,000 Ohio jobs would be lost over the next five years and our economy could shrink by $245 billion. Energy costs — from the thermostat to the gas pump — would rise, causing the cost-of-living to increase by almost $6,000 annually.

Ohioans realize the benefits shale development provides to the Buckeye State as more than 78 percent, according to public opinion polling the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program conducted last year, support continuing oil and natural gas development and even more believe the industry is important to their community.

While we’re all facing challenging times and strong headwinds, we’re optimistic about the future that’s ahead and the value of working together to provide Americans with clean, affordable energy supply.

It’s important we all remain engaged and think critically about the key role Ohio-produced energy plays in keeping us healthy and safe while making the many things we enjoy about our modern life possible.

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Greg Mason

InsideSources.com

Greg Mason is the interim executive director of the Granville-based Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program. He wrote this for InsideSources.com.

Greg Mason is the interim executive director of the Granville-based Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program. He wrote this for InsideSources.com.

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