*Video* Rep. Andy Thompson interview with EID-Ohio
Energy In Depth-Ohio recently sat down with State Representative Andy Thompson to discuss shale development occurring in eastern Ohio.
The Representative hails from Marietta in Washington County. His current district includes Washington, Monroe, Noble, Guernsey and part of Muskingum Counties. With redistricting this year, Rep. Thompson will be representing Washington, Monroe, Noble, Carroll and the Western part of Belmont Counties.
Rep. Thompson has already seen benefits to his district’s local economy from the increasing development of shale. One small example, suppliers Pioneer Pipe and Ken Miller Supply have been very busy servicing all the new wells coming on line. Not only does Washington County host suppliers, they are also home to Marietta College, one of the top petroleum engineering colleges in the eastern United States. Graduates, many are local, now have the opportunity to work in their home state rather than going elsewhere, a trend that has not been seen in Ohio since the late 70’s-early 80’s.
“It’s particularly exciting that they don’t have to travel away from home, they can actually be near home and be engaged in an industry which is helping their part of the state.”
As far as retail sales, Rep. Thompson is encouraged by what he has already seen. Baker and Sons in Monroe County is having a hard time keeping their tractors in stock while Bridgeport Equipment, Marietta’s local tractor store, is seeing similar results in their Washington County and Belmont County operations. Similarly, many businesses that were once struggling our now thriving. Atwood Lake, a local resort, closed down their lodge last year but now with shale development happening, the county has bought the lodge and is renting out the rooms to workers in the industry. Vacancy at the lodge is now a hard thing to come by, it was once routine.
“This kind of thing is really having a tremendously positive and beneficial impact on the economy”
Rep. Thompson’s newly drawn district takes includes Carroll County, currently Ohio’s most active county in Utica development. Through his discussions in the community and with local businesses, Rep. Thompson has found a high level of enthusiasm for ongoing shale development. One of many reasons for this enthusiasm is the economic resurgence being experienced in the area. For example, unemployment in the county has dropped to 8.5% as of this past November, a dramatic improvement over the 11.2% rate it had just a year prior.
The people of Appalachia have a history of being skilled laborers and the Utica Shale is providing an opportunity for these hard-working folks to find work in many sectors, including manufacturing. As Rep. Thompson toured Ariel Corporation, Ohio’s largest manufacturer, last week he saw they are advertising as far south as Cambridge to recruit workers for their plant. There are many opportunities heading our way a “sellers market” when it comes to employment.We need to remind young people again that there is a lot of great opportunity in the oil patch but also in manufacturing. And because of the oil and gas, we are going to see a real comeback in manufacturing
“We need to remind young people again that there is a lot of great opportunity for them in the oil patch but also in manufacturing. And I think because of the oil and gas, we are going to see a real comeback in manufacturing.”
“Opportunity is here, now.”
Rep. Thompson recounts a story from a family friend regarding ongoing shale development and what it means to the community. In applying the “4 Way Test” of the Rotary, where the friend was talking about oil and gas development, she related that shale development is providing needed assistance to her community and local farmers. Farmers who were once struggling are now able to reinvest in their operations due to payments they are now receiving through land lease agreements.
Shale development is just starting to ramp up in eastern Ohio and it is refreshing to hear the profound beneficial impacts that are already occurring. I would like to thank Rep. Andy Thompson for giving us such a candid interview and providing his views on shale development in Ohio.
State Representative Andy Thompson represents the 93rd District, which includes Guernsey, Monroe and Noble counties, as well as portions of Washington and Muskingum counties.