Oil fracking in Ohio can boost local economy

Eastern Ohio may see better days despite the gloomy atmosphere created by idle plants and factories that have long been shut down owing to unfavorable economic conditions.

Residents are pinning their hopes on the growing hydraulic fracking business in the locality, as this  will certainly bring in badly needed jobs, a steady supply of energy and, eventually, more income for households.

Despite these prospects, communities in Ohio are also wary of the environmental effects of fracking, i.e., water contamination, possible toxic spills, and fracking-induced earthquakes.

While Obama is pushing for more jobs and less consumption of foreign oil, he is also stepping up measures to protect the environment from the effects of fracking, without of course jeopardizing efforts to attract oil investment from firms that are willing to explore local energy resources.

In Ohio alone, oil exploration ventures could fetch up to $5 billion in investments and about 65,000 additional jobs. All these are foreseen to happen by 2013.

Obama announced “We’re taking every possible action to develop a near 100-year supply of natural gas.”

Eastern Ohio is well-known among drillers for its oil-rich Marcellus as well as Utica shale reservoirs.  Markwest Energy Partners and Chesapeake Energy Corporation are just two of the big oil companies already investing in oil exploration, particularly in Steubenville, Jefferson County.

Ed Looman, who is with the Jefferson Counties’ Progress Alliance said “The last thing we want to do is regulate these energy companies to the point that they don’t want to come here.”

Obama was slammed by critics when he postponed installation of the Keystone XL pipeline due to issues affecting the environment. For some states, like Ohio, he didn’t appear too pushy on the issue of fracking rules as job and income satisfaction normally dictate how residents (including those from Ohio) will cast their ballots.

In his past State of the Union speech, the President emphasized the importance of exploring natural gas and its positive effect on job creation. He stated that the activity could bring in almost 600,000 new jobs in the long-term. For API, these positive comments reveal that the President must now have a better appreciation of the local oil and gas sector.

The President relaxed some rules regarding fracking on public zones and has given drillers up to two years to invest in oil fracking equipment that would conform with air emission standards. Drillers were also required to disclose chemicals used for fracking just after the drilling has been done.

By: Chris Termeer