As I meet with constituents around the district, one of the topics that I am questioned about most often is the need for energy development in Ohio. Those who work in an energy-related industry know the importance it plays in economic development and job creation. Others are confused about processes such as fracking and would like to know more about what it means to our region of the state and the state at-large.

Fracking is another term for hydraulic fracturing, a technology that has been used in Ohio since the 1950s. But rather than traditional vertical wells, we now have the ability to drill horizontally underground for energy. In the end, this allows us to tap into reservoirs of natural gas that were previously unable to be extracted from.

Ohio is blessed to have a type of rock called shale beneath our feet. Generally, when we are talking about energy development in Ohio, the focus is on the Marcellus shale and Utica shale. This is where the fracking takes place in order to retrieve the gas. Taking advantage of these resources will lead to a variety of new jobs in Ohio, as well as further set the United States on a path of energy independence.

Although there are many misperceptions about the environmental impacts of fracking, Ohio has carefully navigated its way through those concerns. Earlier this year, we even passed more legislation to regulate the fracking industry and ensure that it is being as transparent as possible to the public. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has played a huge role in this process, and I’m confident that it will continue to oversee this process in a responsible manner.

With the amount of energy and jobs available to our state, I’m very excited about the future of the energy industry in this state. It is growing so rapidly that more research is taking place and college students are taking classes with the goal of playing an active role in energy development after they graduate.

At the same time, the energy industry continues to be a great way for those without college degrees and those who are looking for more work to develop the skills necessary to get a new job. Jobs are not only tied directly to the drilling sites, but also the businesses that make materials for the process to be successful, including many manufacturing jobs.

Ohio has always been proud of its manufacturing base, but we have also been proud of our land. We love that we have Lake Erie and the Ohio River. We love the fertile farmland available to us, and we love the many scenic landscapes across the state. There’s no doubt that this is a very unique place to live—and with many advantages.

The energy resources available to Ohio are one more example of how we can benefit from the land we live on. I look forward to the day when business is booming and families say they are better off because we took action to develop energy in Ohio today. We must continue to navigate our way though responsible energy production with the goal of a safe environment and long-term economy prosperity in mind.


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