Education is Key to Ohio’s Energy Future
Ohio’s oil and gas industry is experiencing significant growth. With increased activity, and increased attention on the development of the Utica Shale, more and more people are showing interest in what is rapidly becoming one of our state’s premiere industries. As the excitement continues to build around the incredible potential our shale deposits bring, so too does the curiosity towards the various aspects of oil and gas production and development.
Many Ohioans aren’t familiar with the state’s long tradition of oil and gas development. In fact, most Ohioans aren’t aware that we’ve been one of the nation’s leaders in energy development far longer than Texas or Oklahoma. Ohio has a rich history in producing oil and gas, and it’s becoming more and more evident we have a bright future as well, thanks to development of the Utica Shale.
With the steady increase in attention towards Ohio’s Utica Shale and it’s great potential for our state, there is a coinciding increase in the volume of the conversations taking place across the state regarding this homegrown energy source. Unfortunately, some of the “loudest” conversations are those wrought with misinformation and factually inaccurate statements.
This is a complicated, technical industry, with complicated, technical processes utilized to extract our natural resources.
Many of those who stand in opposition to the safe, responsible extraction of oil and natural gas have done themselves and their neighbors a disservice in vain attempts to over-simplify the process, instead deciding to lump any and everything oil and gas related under one umbrella term. Confusion of facts and a lack of understanding has generated more confusion, unwarranted concerns and polluted the public conversation on oil and natural gas development, and the great, positive impact it is having on our state.
People all across Ohio have questions and concerns, and are entitled to the facts when it comes to the natural gas industry and it’s practices. Education is the key to our success in our efforts to move Ohio forward together as a leader in energy production and economic growth.
It’s incumbent upon those of us working in the industry to share the history, inform others of the robust regulatory framework in Ohio, and provide factual information on the best practices used in oil and gas development. We are obligated to share this with our friends, neighbors and citizens of the state. We must discuss frankly the “hot” topics such as hydraulic fracturing, injection wells and wastewater disposal, and provide our experience, facts and expertise in these subjects.
Many individuals who work in the industry, just like many other small business owners across the state, are working hard to run their businesses. At the same time, oil and gas producers are in a public perception battle across the United States. For too long, we have allowed people, many from far outside the Ohio border, to tell our story for us even it if may be filled with misinformation.
Too often these days, it seems those with the least education are doing the most educating. This is a dynamic we are fighting to change.
The (OOGA), the (OOGEEP), the American Petroleum Institute (API), the Ohio Petroleum Council (OPC), the Buckeye Energy Forum and (EID-Ohio) comprise the Ohio Energy Resource Alliance (OERA), a working body designed to provide the citizens of Ohio with information about the oil and natural gas industry using science and facts.
Over the coming weeks and months (as long as it takes) OOGA and other members of OERA, including EID Ohio, will be working to share with the public – through town hall meetings, educational forums and any number of other events – the facts on Ohio’s oil and gas industry. We look to discuss our state’s energy producers and players, and the environmental protections and great measures put in place to ensure we are responsible stewards of our natural resources.
Ohio is at a precipice, we can allow further development of an industry that has been safely operating in Ohio for over 150 years, or we can allow fear mongering to overrun what science and fact tells us are safe industry practices.
Our purpose is not to extol blind faith, but provide hard facts. We don’t expect citizens to just believe us; we also give them resources by which to find information to further educate themselves. Again, education is the key, and we must all do our part to both educate, and be educated.