Letter to the editor: Institute's report on oil and gas industry missed the mark

Barnesville Enterprise

The Ohio River Valley Institute’s recent report attempting to discredit the many economic benefits that oil and natural gas drilling provide for our state missed the mark.

In reality, this industry has been a great benefit and integral component to Ohio’s economy and the entire Appalachian region.

The natural gas and oil industry is responsible for nearly 205,000 jobs in Ohio, according to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. Shale-related employment — such as drilling and pipeline construction for example — has increased over 90 percent since 2011, with annual wages averaging between $70,000 and $80,000, far higher than the state average.

Beyond the obvious benefits of job creation, the abundance of natural gas has also helped lower energy costs for Ohio families. A study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that natural gas prices for the average household were $429 lower in 2018 than in 2008. Furthermore, the average price of gasoline in 2008 was $4.10 per gallon, according to the Energy Information Administration. Last year, gasoline was $1.96 per gallon. Think of what these savings mean for especially average and low-income Ohioans.

The developments made by this industry over the past 10 years have created hundreds of thousands of jobs, lowered energy prices, and made the United States more energy independent so we are buying fuel from Ohioans and other Americans. Ohio’s natural gas and oil industry is an integral part of this progress, and I am proud to support the hard-working Americans who provide us energy and fuel our way of life.

State Sen. Tim Schaffer,

20th District of Ohio