One of my responsibilities as a legislator is to have an understanding of what the people I represent are facing in their everyday lives and to find a way of making things better. At a time Ohioans are struggling for work and energy prices are costing families a hefty sum—including the price at the pump—it is more essential than ever for our state to have a comprehensive energy policy that creates jobs.

A plan to get people and businesses the energy they need at a low cost will go a long way in building a thriving economy. This requires the use of a variety of sources, including oil, natural gas, clean coal, renewables, and many others. Not only will this effort make us less dependent on foreign oil, but we can put Ohioans to work, partnering with industry leaders, the education system, environmental advocates, and workforce development programs.

The more energy development we have in Ohio, the more jobs we will create. This is why I was especially disappointed earlier this year when President Obama passed up the opportunity to construct the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada. Along with the pipeline would come a projected 20,000 jobs that Ohio’s manufacturing base could certainly benefit from as they build pipes and pumps for the industry. I was pleased that the Ohio House passed a resolution urging for the construction of the pipeline in order to gain these jobs.

That same resolution called for increased energy production off of Alaska’s northern coast, as well as the granting of permits for energy in the Gulf of Mexico. With the potential to employ so many more Americans and bring stability to energy prices, it is inconceivable to pass up such opportunities, especially when we have responsible and safe ways of doing it.

Even in Ohio, we have passed legislation to open our state-owned land to energy exploration. This is a great opportunity for our state, and the federal government should take note that increased energy development on public lands can benefit the American people. In Ohio, we followed up on that commitment by passing a bill to establish a tough regulatory framework for the oversight of new energy exploration technologies, including hydraulic fracturing.

The new law includes well drilling construction standards that will help protect groundwater and the environment, all while making simple changes that are easy for businesses to navigate through. It builds on our comprehensive energy plan and even promotes the use of natural gas and alternative fuels for vehicles, which is the way of the future.

Saying “no” to various forms of energy production is not the way for Ohio to get ahead. Whether it’s the Keystone pipeline or an attack on the coal industry, I will continue to stand on the side of the Ohio workers who depend on these important industries to take care of their families.

Energy production does not have to be a contest of regulation versus business or environmental responsibility versus jobs. All of these things play an important role on our path to economic success, but it will take thoughtful and responsible leadership at all levels of government to get it done.


Post a Comment