Appalachian Basin

Liftoff! Congressman Bill Johnson on Ohio Utica Jobs Taking Off

As a retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Colonel, Congressman Bill Johnson has seen his fair share of successful takeoffs. But, after 23 years of service, the greatest ascent he might witnesses may be still to come.  I’m talking, of course, about the potential hundreds of thousands of new jobs likely to be created by developing the Utica Shale – a large part  of which underlies the eastern portion of Ohio where the Congressman calls home.

These jobs will provide a tremendous lift to the state and the 6th district, which has already witnessed a growth in job creation from Utica development. The town of Steubenville, as reported by ABC World News and EID Ohio’s very own Shawn Bennett, has already seen more than 300 jobs created, and there are likely thousands more on the way as the play continues to develop and mature.  All of this is not lost on Congressman Johnson who commented on Utica development late last month.

This is another example of the beginning wave of prosperity for eastern and southeastern Ohio. The projections are of 10,000 new jobs here in the area for the next three years…We have an opportunity coming our way because of the Marcellus and Utica Shale drilling industry, said Congreesman Johnson (Rep. Johnson Tours Grand Theater, 10/29/11)

Following up on these earlier comments, on Wednesday Congressman Johnson again highlighted what Utica shale development will mean for our state, his district, and Ohio’s economy.  This time however the Congressman was appearing before a much larger audience when he appeared on Fox Business News  making comments like the one below.

Johnson: Everybody is on board, everybody is so very, very excited. We’re sitting on the world’s largest deposit, by most expert’s opinions, of natural gas, so we have a lot to look forward to. (00:29

Rep. Johnson is well educated on the development process involved with natural gas exploration and production. When asked about the widely debunked scene in the movie Gasland, Mr. Johnson was quick and ready with the facts:

Bolling: “There was a documentary out a while ago that said you shouldn’t try to access gas this way, the fracking procedure…your faucet could catch on fire.” (00:58)

Johnson: It is not true. That is one of the biggest scare tactics environmentalists have in trying to stop us from going after this very, very powerful natural resource. Even the EPA administrator herself has acknowledge that in the history of fracking over the last 60 years, there has not been one single incidence where drinking water has been contaminated by the fracking process. These are just scare tactics. (1:03)

Here, of course, the Congressman is referring to the May 2010, testimony of EPA administrator Lisa Jackson, who delivered the following testimony to the U.S. Senate:

I am not aware of any proven case where the fracking process itself affected water, said Jackson.

In the interview the Congressman goes on to explain the great potential inherent in developing the state’s shale resources and what it means for job creation here:

Johnson: If you look at the Marcellus shale and Utica shale, by most experts opinion you are looking at 5.5 billion barrels of oil, sitting right there underneath Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania, and again that’s a lot to be excited about. It represents jobs coming to the area. (2:11)

Boller: “Those numbers are massive – those numbers would compete with some of the Middle-East countries as far as oil reserves.” (2:37)

Johnson: Absolutely. Take a look at Steubenville alone – the little town of Steubenville – over 300 jobs created already, ten thousands of new high paying jobs expected over the next three years, and estimates are that anyone in Steubenville, Ohio, which has been decimated by lost of manufacturing, anyone who wants a job can have one by next April.  (2:44)

Needless to say, with such rich potential for the state of Ohio and the fine folks in the 6th district, anyone interested in a return to prosperity is working hard to make Ohio a leader in the development and production of clean burning natural gas to encourage the economic growth it brings.  Congressman Johnson is doing just that:

“I’m going to be working hard to make sure what happens here in eastern and southeastern Ohio is a permanent change of the landscape in terms of job creation,” (Oil And Gas Forum Held At EGCC, 10/21/11)

Editors note: If you missed it, watch the ABC World News’ coverage on Steubenville below, and be sure to check out Bennett’s article, On Jobs, ABC World News Looks to Steubenville

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