Appalachian Basin

Natural Gas: Something Both Rs and Ds Can Agree On

With the Republican and the Democratic National Conventions now all wrapped up — and the election only two months away – many Americans across the nation are asking themselves an important question: where we are going and who is best to take us there? And while the two parties may have significant disagreements on a host of significant issues, the topic of natural gas has proven itself a truly bipartisan issue with strong support from both sides of the aisle.

Perhaps no place is this more evident than here in Ohio.

In a state always in focus during any election year, one thing all parties have in common is the recognition and support of the incredible benefits the development of our state’s natural resources in the Utica Shale has to offer. Energy in Depth – Ohio has been fortunate to have had some of Ohio’s most important leaders express support on this platform, and has been privy to the conversation taking place in town halls and legislative offices throughout the Buckeye State.

Here’s a quick look at what they are saying:

Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH): “Shale development means economic development, and that’s exciting news for Ohio. It means tens of thousands of good-paying jobs across our state, all while helping to lower power costs for Ohio consumers.” (Shale Development Means Economic Development, 6/13/12)

Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel (R-OH): “The natural resources we have in Ohio are an opportunity for win-win-win: job creationlower energy prices, and reducing our country’s dependence on foreign oil.” (Energy Exploration in Ohio is a “Win, Win, Win” Scenario, 7/25/12)

Mayor William Healy (D-OH): I believe that the exploration of Utica Shale by the oil and gas industry and how we embrace this industry will be a defining moment in our history. – Mayor William Healy (Mayor dubs Canton the ‘Utica Capital’, 3/1/12)

State Representative Dave Hall (R-OH): “Shale means jobs; shale is restoring Ohio’s hope.” (Shale Can Restore Ohio’s Hope, 2/19/12)

There is no other state that serves as a better bellwether for the nation than Ohio. Every four years, the mantra is repeated: So goes Ohio, so goes the nation. And this year is no different, so it should come as no surprise the support for increased, safe and responsible development of our oil and natural gas resources is shared by elected officials across the country, a fact reenforced recently at the national conventions.

From President Obama (D), to New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg (I), to Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal (R), America’s leaders recognize the undeniable benefits of this abundant natural resource. Consider:

Both Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and Democratic President Barack Obama have highlighted the important role of natural gas within their platforms and speeches:

President Obama: “The development of natural gas will create jobs and power trucks and factories that are cleaner and cheaper, proving that we don’t have to choose between our environment and our economy.” (State of the Union address,1/24/12)

President Obama: “We’re offering a better path … where we develop a hundred-year supply of natural gas that’s right beneath our feet. If you choose this path, we can cut our oil imports in half by 2020 and support more than 600,000 new jobs in natural gas alone.” (President Barack Obama’s DNC Speech, 9/7/12)

Democratic Platform: “Our dependence on foreign oil is now at a 16-year low, and a new era of cheap, abundant natural gas is helping to bring jobs and industry back to the United States…We can move towards a sustainable energy-independent future if we harness all of America’s great natural resources.” [Link]

Republican candidate Mitt Romney: “Natural gas is the cleanest-burning fossil fuel. Recent discoveries suggest that  the United States may have a 100-year supply beneath our land. Extracting this gas requires “fracking” (hydraulic fracturing, coupled for these purposes with  horizontal drilling), and will also entail significant investments in pipelines and  associated infrastructure to distribute the greater volumes of gas.” [Link]

Republican Platform: “All estimates of America’s oil and natural gas reserves indicate an incredible bounty for the use of many generations to come. At a time when unemployment has been above 8 percent for 42 consecutive months, the longest stretch since the Great Depression, and some 23 million Americans are either unemployed, underemployed, or have given up on finding work, we should be pursuing our oil and gas resources both on and offshore.” [Link]

President Obama’s White House energy adviser Heather Zichal has also touted the administration’s support of natural gas development:

Zichal: “The president has made clear that he believes this important, abundant domestic resource [natural gas] holds unique promise to fuel our energy sector, fuel our vehicles, as well as fuel job growth — all while reducing harmful emissions.” (FuelFix, 5/31/12)

With all of the benefits of natural gas, it’s little wonder why people from all walks of life and all political backgrounds support this clean burning, CO2 reducing, job creating, domestic energy resource.

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