Labor, Business, Government Agree on Ohio Shale
This week, Energy In Depth attended an event in Canton that would have seemed highly unlikely just one year ago. Labor groups, oil and gas industry representatives, local elected officials from both parties, and multiple chambers of commerce all came together to talk about Utica Shale development, the Keystone XL, and why both are important to Ohioans. The event was aptly titled, “Investing in America: Building Ohio Jobs,” and was hosted by the newly formed Stark County Oil & Gas Partnership and the Ohio Chamber of Commerce. Along with various other speakers, Energy In Depth’s own Shawn Bennett gave the large crowd an update on Utica Shale development and the more than 38,000 jobs the industry created just last year.
Canton Mayor William J. Healy also addressed the crowd to emphasize the incredible partnership that has been created to support Ohio shale. He explained that more than 40 companies have come to Stark County and what he has dubbed the “Utica Capital” because of the oil and gas industry. He said that kind of positive economic growth is new to a region that has been plagued by the nation’s recession:
“Think about what I just said—business, labor, government, industry; here together, collaborating, to benefit our community and our region for the betterment of jobs and our future, and I think we all deserve a hand for that.” —William J. Healy, Mayor, City of Canton (:45)
Energy In Depth had a chance to chat with attendees with a range of backgrounds and interests to see what they think shale can do for the state and our individual communities. First, we spoke to Doug Lane, President of the North Canton Chamber of Commerce to get a sense of what his area expects in the coming years:
“So for each one of our communities in this immediate area, as well as what’s happened to our south and our east, all of us have a different stake in this, but we’re in it together.” —Doug Lane, President, North Canton Chamber (0:57)
Next, we spoke with George Popovich, President of Local 396 Plumbers and Pipefitters out of Youngstown about the work they’ve gotten since shale development came to Ohio:
“There’s going to be work work for 40 years in this industry, we want to get these guys involved in it, so we’re trying to get as much work as we can get.” –George Popovich, Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 396 (0:20)
Members of the Local 396 pose with AFL-CIO’s Sean McGarvey
Also from the labor community, Sean McGarvey — president of the AFL-CIO’s Building and Construction Trades Department — spoke to the crowd about the importance of supporting the oil and gas industry, especially in Ohio. Such a high level labor official emphasizing the importance of Ohio’s shale industry certainly demonstrates that these jobs aren’t something to overlook. He spoke to the Canton Repository about what the industry could mean for the middle class:
“What I think the shale boom means for the United States is … putting a floor under the middle class and stopping the slide. I mean, what’s happening in the country will have such a phenomenal impact on jobs and the middle class, it will not only stop the slide, it will afford the old-time opportunities to move people from poverty into the middle class.” —Sean McGarvey (AFL-CIO Leader McGarvey says drilling means jobs, 4/16/13)
McGarvey elaborated on Ohio’s role when he sat down for the Sunday Shale Show with Energy In Depth, which will be posted this upcoming Sunday here on the EID blog.
As shale development continues to grow in Ohio, it should be lost on nobody that increasingly diverse groups of people are coming together to voice their support for our state’s economic revitalization.