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Thursday, September 27, 2018

Harrison County Poised for Exciting Growth

From WTOV:


Since the announcement of a new power plant to be built in Harrison County, Project Best is partnering with local elected officials to discuss continued economic growth.

Dozens of community leaders gathered Tuesday at Capraro's Restaurant & Lounge in Hopedale to discuss the bright future that lies ahead for the county

"Harrison County has remarkable growth over the past couple of years. We just want to help them and support them and continue to grow Harrison County," said Project BEST Co-Chair Ginny Favede. 

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Ohio Supreme Court Rules Against Oil and Gas Landman

From Vorys Energy & Environmental Law Blog:
Yesterday, September 25, 2018, the Supreme Court of Ohio issued the decision of Dundics v. Eric Petroleum Corporation, 2018-Ohio-3826, which could have broad implications for third-party landmen, land companies and oil and gas producers in Ohio. In that decision, the Court held that the Ohio Real Estate Brokers’ statute, R.C. Chapter 4735, applies to transactions involving oil and gas. Specifically, the Court held that an outside landman must be a licensed real estate broker in order to seek compensation for work performed in obtaining an oil and gas lease on behalf of a producer. 
In Dundics, an outside landman sued a producer for breach of contract, claiming that the producer failed to make promised payments for work performed by the landman in obtaining oil and gas leases. The producer moved to dismiss the lawsuit, arguing that because the landman was not a licensed real estate broker, the landman was not entitled to enforce his agreement with the producer. The trial court granted the motion to dismiss and the court of appeals affirmed.
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Infinity and Beyond! Activist Denies High Costs of Youngstown Anti-Fracking Measure

by Dan Alfaro, Energy in Depth

The taxpayers of Youngstown, Ohio, are once again being forced to foot the bill for a ballot measure that would ban fracking in the community, despite voting against the measure seven times previously. And the activists behind this movement have made it clear that they simply don’t care.
Thomas Lindsey, the co-founder of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) – the out-of-state activist group that has repeatedly tried and failed to pass a ballot measure that would ban fracking and all fossil fuel-related activity in Youngstown – has stated that he doesn’t mind bankrupting communities as a means to an end in advancing CELDF’s agenda.
“And if a town goes bankrupt trying to defend one of our ordinances, well, perhaps that’s exactly what is needed to trigger a national movement.”
And apparently, one of the primary activists behind the seven-times defeated CELDF-backed “Community Bill of Rights” efforts in Youngstown feels the same way.
EID caught up with activist Susie Beiersdorfer at Gasland Director Josh Fox’s “The Truth Has Changed” promotional event earlier this month at Youngstown State University and asked her point-blank how many times she would be willing push a ballot initiative that has already cost taxpayers more than $100,000.
EID: “Eighth time a charm this year?”
Beiersdorfer: “You know what, eight on its side is infinity.”
EID: “Eight on its side is infinity. Are you ready to go infinity times?”
Beiersdorfer: “You know what, we don’t lose until we quit…”
EID: “So even though that may come at the expense of infinity tax dollars?
Beiersdorfer: “We’ve had over $500,000 spent against us, all the community leaders are against us…
EID: “But that’s from private groups, this is public taxpayer dollars that are being put up every time we go through this…”
Beiersdorfer: “For what? What are taxpayer dollars being put up for? … To advertise in the Vindicator. You know what, Energy In Depth lied on that – that’s a lie.”
It isn’t, though, and Beiersdorfer feigning ignorance won’t change that fact. If anything, the cost to Youngstown’s taxpayers has been far more than $100,000. And what is even more certain is that Beiersdorfer and company don’t mind seeing that figure balloon even more. Back in May, Beiersdorfer echoed the above comments to EID when she told the Youngstown Vindicator:
“It’s not like we’re going to stop. Our motto is we don’t lose until we quit.”
Beiersdorfer has also stated that the ultimate goal of this effort is to kill jobs and push industries she and her fellow “Keep It In the Ground” cohorts don’t like out of the Mahoning Valley. If you have any doubts about how serious Youngstown’s small, yet vocal, anti-fracking movement is about pushing this thoroughly rejected agenda to infinity and beyond, check out this video of a local media interview with a member of Frack Free Mahoning Valley:
What makes this rhetoric all the more troubling is the fact that these folks not only want to ban fracking, but all industries they don’t like. In fact, CELDF and company literally want to take away all business and private property rights, period. As Linzey also recently stated:
“If you are going to put all that work into a ballot initiative, why not do a ballot initiative that bans all finance companies in New York City from funding new projects that exacerbate climate change? Why not do something real…why not do something real…cause people are saying to themselves, ‘it would be illegal, it would be unlawful, it would be unconstitutional, because you are taking their property’ well..(expletive), it’s time.”
Unfortunately for Youngstown’s taxpayers, it appears they will continue to have to pay for the actions of this fringe movement.

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State Senator Agrees to Discuss NEXUS Revenue with School Board

From The Press:
State Senator Randy Gardner, R – Bowling Green, said last week he’s accepted an invitation by the Woodmore school board to discuss property tax revenues from the Nexus pipeline and he tentatively plans to attend the board’s October meeting. 
“I told them I would be glad to meet with them and talk,” Gardner said. “The challenge is going to be there is not going to be any specific answer as to how much money will be available from any pipeline company and there is no definitive answer it will have on state funding. By the time this revenue would be available the next state budget would be in effect so the funding formula is likely to change. 
“It also depends on other factors that happen to the district – valuations change, student population changes. One factor of state aid is the local property tax wealth of the school district. Arguably, if there is a pipeline that adds valuation to the school district, the total value of state aid could be affected. But there is no way to answer that precisely. So if someone says what’s going to happen in 2020 or 2021, once construction of the pipeline is completed and the property valuation is determined you’re still not going to know the answer to that question precisely.” 
According to one estimate, Woodmore schools could receive about $5.3 million over five years from the pipeline when it’s operating.
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Latest Food & Water Watch Report Shows Switch in Tactics: Attack Petrochemicals … To Ban Fracking

by Nicole Jacobs, Energy in Depth

In Food & Water Watch’s (FWW) ongoing pursuit to ban fracking everywhere, the group recently released an issue brief that attacks the major petrochemical and plastics investments being made in the Appalachian Basin, calling the region “Another Petrochemical Sacrifice Zone.” Why? Because FWW believes that if it can squash the estimated $36 billion potential petrochemical investments for the region, the group can also achieve its long-term goal of banning fracking. From the report,
“Without the petrochemical and plastics industries to sop up the excess gas supply, it does not make economic sense to maintain the fracking frenzy when gas prices are this low.”
In fact, FWW’s top recommendations (resulting from the exaggerated risks in its report) clearly lay out the group’s “Keep It In the Ground” agenda:
  • “Banning fracking everywhere”
  • “Stopping fossil fuel exports and the construction of [pipeline] infrastructure to support these exports”
  • “Limiting purchases of non-biodegradable, plastic products that effectively supports and finances the oil and gas industry”
This may be FWW’s most bizarre report yet in that a vast majority of it is spent detailing the benefits of the shale industry and potential downstream investment with phrases thrown in randomly to spin these as negatives. For example:
“Too Much Gas: Setting the Stage for a Petrochemical Construction Boom” is an actual sub-heading within FWW’s report.
The Appalachian Basin is driving natural gas production growth across the country thanks to the incredible production taking place in the region. And oddly, that’s one of discussions FWW chooses to lead with in its report:
“The fracking industry’s gas production expanded nearly sixfold in 10 years, with gas production jumping from 2.9 quadrillion cubic feet in 2008 to an estimated 16.9 quadrillion cubic feet in 2017. The Marcellus and Utica shale basins beneath the Tri-State area have become a major source of shale gas, producing 7.6 trillion cubic feet of gas in 2016 — about 45 percent of all shale gas and a quarter of all gas produced in the United States. … Now the fracking industry needs new demand sources to absorb excess gas to justify more drilling. … This fracking-driven plastics bonanza also has a global reach.”
FWW actually dedicates more than 450 words to describing the increased production occurring in the region, while simultaneously injecting negative connotations to its explanation with language such as,
“Surging fracked gas production has collapsed natural gas prices, spawning a crisis in the fracking industry.”
The group then transitions to how this increased production has spurred investment interest – seriously. From the report:
“The surplus of ethane has been a boon for the plastics industry…”
“… ‘shale-based natural gas represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity’ for the North American plastics market.”
“The [American Chemistry Council] dubs shale gas as a ‘game changer for the chemistry industry,’ stating that it ‘holds the promise of a renaissance of chemical manufacturing in the United States.’”
“By 2023, the chemical industry could spend over $164 billion on 264 new facilities and expansion projects nationwide specifically to take advantage of shale gas, according to the ACC.”
“The building boom would include a large natural gas storage facility, a cluster of new petrochemical and plastics plants and a network of pipelines to transport the natural gas and NGLs to and from the hub. Since 2010, investors have planned to pour $16 billion into the region’s petrochemical and fracked gas infrastructure projects, but the ACC has recommended at least $32 billion to jump-start a petrochemical boom.”
“The industry investments will total tens of billions of dollars. Three facilities alone — two ethane crackers and the Storage Hub — are estimated to tally at least $26 billion.”
“The region is already home to many factories that manufacture plastics or plastic products. Currently, these factories buy plastic inputs like ethylene from the Gulf Coast of Texas and Louisiana. The regional buildout of gas storage, transportation and petrochemical processing plants like ethane crackers would substantially reduce transportation costs and supercharge the development of a new regional plastics powerhouse modeled after the Gulf Coast.”
“The Ohio Rail Development Commission is also receiving a $16.5 million grant that could serve as critical transportation infrastructure for the Ohio petrochemical plant, since almost all plastics in North America are transported by rail.”
And aside for one brief section on pipelines being at risk for leaks and explosions, the FWW report goes on about the positives of these industries for 6 1/2 pages – the whole report is only 9.5 pages, not counting endnotes – with phrasing like “polluting partners” thrown in occasionally to keep readers aware they should be reading these benefits as negatives before FWW ever gets into why in its mind any of this is a bad thing.
We’re not really sure what was up with that either, but … thank you?
Pipelines
Despite FWW’s assertions that “pipeline construction is disruptive and dangerous” and “threats to public safety and the environment remain even after construction is completed,” it’s a fact that pipelines are the safest means of transporting natural gas and natural gas liquids. From the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration:
“Pipelines enable the safe movement of extraordinary quantities of energy products to industry and consumers, literally fueling our economy and way of life. The arteries of the Nation’s energy infrastructure, as well as one of the safest and least costly ways to transport energy products, our oil and gas pipelines provide the resources needed for national defense, heat and cool our homes, generate power for business and fuel an unparalleled transportation system.
“The nation’s more than 2.6 million miles of pipelines safely deliver trillions of cubic feet of natural gasand hundreds of billions of ton/miles of liquid petroleum products each year. They are essential: the volumes of energy products they move are well beyond the capacity of other forms of transportation. It would take a constant line of tanker trucks, about 750 per day, loading up and moving out every two minutes, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to move the volume of even a modest pipeline. The railroad-equivalent of this single pipeline would be a train of 75 2,000-barrel tank rail cars everyday.
Pipeline systems are the safest means to move these products.” (emphasis added)
Cancer, Environmental Justice and Worker Safety
In true FWW fashion – albeit seven pages in – the group does eventually detail what it means by polluting partnership, claiming that shale development and these petrochemical and plastic facilities will cause a new cancer alley in Appalachia, have negative consequences for marginalized populations, and be harmful to workers.
But here’s the thing – cancer rates are actually lower in top shale basins than in states that have banned fracking. And shale is helping to greatly reduce the cost of energy in the Appalachian Basin, with recent reports from the Consumer Energy Alliance finding that this regional development saved natural gas consumers more than $80 billion from 2006 to 2016. Further, for ethane cracker facilities in particular, an ExxonMobil study of its existing facilities finds that ongoing monitoring “continue[s] to show the overall health of our employees is better than that of the U.S. population.”
Conclusion
The bottom line is this – for all of the reasons and more that Food & Water Watch highlighted, shale development has been a boon for this region. And the investment that it is spurring in manufacturing and other industries will ensure that these benefits last for generations. It’s a historic thing that’s happening here, and as this report proves, even one of the staunchest opponents of fracking had a difficult time ignoring the incredible benefits already seen and forecasted to occur in the Appalachian Basin.

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Environmentalists Causing Headaches for Midstream Pipeline Companies

From the Pittsburgh Business Times:
An expert in strategic communication for energy company expects the environment to get even more challenging for midstream companies as it deals with protests, recent challenges to construction and incidents like theBeaver County pipeline blast earlier this month. 
Environmentalists with deep pockets are challenging the pipeline industry with strategies that are leading to long delays for pipeline projects, said Jackie Stewart, managing director of FTI Consulting. And that, coupled with regulatory delays, are skyrocketing costs. 
"These things are not going to go away. They are going to get worse as we continue to go along, especially in light of the recent events," Stewart said. 
The Appalachian Regional Conference brought together midstream personnel and was sponsored by GPA Midstream Appalachian Basin. It comes at a time of increased scrutiny for the pipeline industry, after high-profile regulatory challenges and delays for the Mariner East 2 and Mountain Valley Pipeline, among projects An explosion Sept. 10 in Center Township on a pipeline owned by Energy Transfer Partners has led to more attention, industry executives say. 
Those could go a long way in an environment where energy companies companies that could mitigate risks by having a strategic communications and government affairs plan in place as an asit as strategy community and trade investment. get painted with a broad brush, Stewart said. 
"Just because your project may not have been responsible for something, a pipeline is a pipeline is a pipeline to people," she said. "Most of the time they are not going to know the difference.
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Energy Industry Brings $70 Billion in Investments to Ohio

From a JobsOhio press release:
Ohio has emerged as a national leader in energy, largely due to the state’s shale industry, which has served as the biggest driver of energy growth in the country and has contributed to the attraction of over $70 billion in new private sector energy investments in Ohio alone. When factoring in the rest of the Ohio Valley region, this number is significantly larger. These investments from the U.S. and abroad, combined with continued job growth, additional tax revenue and an abundance of low-cost, clean shale energy and electricity have resulted in a positive ripple effect on Ohio’s communities, businesses and consumers. 
Much of this growth can be attributed to Ohio’s proximity to the Utica and Marcellus shale formations in eastern Ohio, offering an abundance of low-cost natural gas, natural gas liquids (NGLs) and oils, and accounting for more than 85 percent of U.S. shale gas production growth since 2011. Additionally, the formations have helped Ohio’s shale gas industry lead the nation in growth for four consecutive years, according to the JobsOhio Shale Investment Report, compiled by Cleveland State University’s Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs. As many as 12,000 high-paying jobs in the state have directly resulted from this industry, and this figure exceeds 100,000 when indirect jobs such as welders, fabricators and logistical workers are included. 
Ohio offers an unparalleled business environment for investors in energy due to numerous factors that range from proximity to the nation’s largest natural gas reserve to efficient access to global markets. 
“When it comes to energy, no region, not even the Gulf, can compete with Ohio,” said Dana Saucier Jr., senior managing director of energy and chemicals at JobsOhio. “With natural gas prices at a cost lower than nearly anywhere else in the world, abundant fresh water from the Ohio River and other sources, an integrated infrastructure allowing for national and global market access, and many energy companies along the supply chain that call the state home, there is tremendous potential to further grow capital investment in Ohio in the energy industry.” 
JobsOhio has leveraged relationships with companies and resources across the state to advance Ohio’s energy industry and attract additional investments in Ohio’s communities. The billions in investments have helped to develop new state-of-the-art, clean electric generating plants, creating high-paying construction jobs and permanent jobs, and generating significant additional tax revenue to be reinvested in the communities. For example: 
  • South Field Energy recently announced a $1.3 billion investment to construct a new 1,182 megawatt, low-carbon electric generating facility in Columbiana County. The new plant marks the company’s second major project in Ohio and will create approximately 1,000 construction jobs.
  • The Carroll County Energy Facility helped fund a long-desired new school for Carrollton Exempted Village Schools through additional tax generation. These taxes will pay the school $1.3 million annually for 30 years to assist with the cost. The new school is scheduled to open in 2019 and will help attract businesses and employees with families to the area.
  • Thai-based PTTGC America and South Korean-based Daelim are still evaluating the feasibility of building a multibillion-dollar, world-scale petrochemical complex in Belmont County. If constructed, the project would create hundreds of permanent jobs and thousands of construction jobs in the Ohio Valley. This project would utilize regional and cost-advantaged ethane feedstock, as outlined in the Shale Crescent USA IHS study.
For more information on Ohio’s growing energy industry, visit: www.jobsohio.com/energy.

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Ohio Supreme Court Rejects Two More CELDF Ballot Measures

by Dan Alfaro, Energy in Depth

In what’s become a predictable fall tradition, two more Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) anti-fracking “Bill of Rights” initiatives met their rightful ends at the hands of Ohio’s Supreme Court, as the high court recently issued decisions to uphold the rulings of the Franklin County and Lucas County boards of election to keep the measures off the November ballot.
Earlier this month, the Franklin County Board of Elections (BOE) rejected the certification of the “Community Bill of Rights for Water, Soil and Air Protection” after correctly determining the scope of the measure would exceed local authority to implement. CELDF and its cohorts requested the court allow for the initiative to remain on the ballot, but by a 6-1 majority the Supreme Court justices agreed with the BOE:
“… We deny the writ and hold that the board members did not abuse their discretion in finding that the proposed ballot measure is beyond the scope of Columbus’ legislative power.”
As the Columbus Dispatch highlighted following the court’s ruling, the majority recognized in its opinion that the city of Columbus lacks the ability to enact measures that supersede Ohio state law:
“Because Columbus clearly lacks the power to enact the proposed ordinance, we hold that the board members did not abuse their discretion in keeping relators’ proposal off the ballot.”
In a nearly identical scenario, “Toledoans for Safe Water” filed a lawsuit against the Lucas County BOE in an attempt to force the board to place the issue on the ballot after its initial rejection on the same grounds. The Supreme Court rejected the request last week after the group “failed to show the elections board abused discretion or disregarded the law by rejecting their petition,” according to the Toledo Blade.
In a statement provided to the Blade, assistant county prosecutor Kevin Pituch – who represented the BOE – indicated the decision was based on the same merits as the Columbus judgement:
“The Court recognized that the Board of Elections followed the law when it denied ballot access to the Lake Erie Bill of Rights charter amendment, because, by creating a new cause of action for the enforcement of the Bill of Rights, the proposed amendment exceeded the authority possessed by the City of Toledo or its citizens.”
It’s been an impressive string of defeats for CELDF in Ohio. Like Charlie Brown (or a Cleveland Brown) kicking the football), these out-of-state activists continue to waste time and taxpayer money by crafting measures with the same fatal flaws as those that failed before them.
While the courts were again able to beat voters to the punch in eliminating the Toledo and Columbus efforts, Youngstown voters still have to wait more than a month to reject CELDF’s blockheaded eighth attempt to pass a measure voters have clearly articulated they have no interest in passing.
Worse still – in the face of what will be the 33rd defeat for the group in the state – the Youngstown activists are already embracing the idea of adding to the streak in future elections.
Good grief.

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The ‘Truth’ About What Josh Fox Thinks of Oil and Gas Supporters

by Dan Alfaro, Energy in Depth

Gasland director Josh Fox has taken his new one-man-play “The Truth Has Changed” on the road. Fox made recent stops in Youngstown and Columbus, Ohio, and EID was on hand at both “shows” to capture Mr. Fox’s latest thoughts…
Given the thorough rebuke of his previous anti-fracking works by the scientific and regulatory communities, one might think the title of his act implies Fox will finally come clean on what he’d previously presented as truth about oil and gas development, and on the practices and processes involved in the industry. But, alas, the three-hour (yes, three hours) solo-performance is but a stream-of-conscious of Fox’s take on “deep state” theories. He does, however, reveal one “truth” – how he really feels about his vast number of detractors.
Through vivid dream sequences, reminiscing about the life as a delegate for Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and presenting Steve Bannon as the dark, shadowy overlord/man-behind-the curtain, Fox sprinkles in some old-hat Gasland moments for color.
He touches on Dimock, goes for the gusto with the farce of flaming faucets of Colorado, and sprinkles in anecdotes on the alleged health impacts of those met during his travels.
Instead of wasting time retreading long-debunked Gasland tales, we thought it may be best to share Josh’s newly vocalized thoughts about those who stood in opposition to his deliberately misleading documentary – about those who support shale development, and the myriad of benefits the industry has brought to communities across the country:Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volu
“[Gasland] screenings across are becoming downright hostile, there’s a seething, percolating rage that’s been drummed up — you know that type of Tea Party, white, down and out, heavily armed, mildly or overtly racistconfederate flag waving, proud of ignorance that kind of thing… not exactly my best friends.”
And there we have it. Fox – after being exposed by EID, among others – finds it easier to dismiss his detractors with labels after failing (repeatedly) to win the argument through a debate based in scientific fact and empirical data.
Where Josh gets truly entertaining – for us, at least – is towards the end of this particular clip, with his commentary on the “industry movies,” including Truthland – the scientifically sound counter to Gasland. Aside from the fact Truthland includes testimony from a myriad of respected scientists and regulators from across the country, in Fox’s mind, it is all part of that deep-state theme he carries throughout his trope:
“It was very difficult not to think about that third guy when I was trying to sleep at night. A guy by the name of Steve Bannon.”
EID has worked with and highlighted the research of a lot of premiere experts over the years, contributing fact-based, scientifically sound dialogue to the greater conversation on oil and natural gas development taking place across the country. We cite our sources, and our research is grounded not in anecdotal tales, but demonstrated empirical data. Unfortunately for Josh, there are no bogeymen to blame for the discrediting of his work. That’s called science.
At the end of the day, Josh Fox spends three hours using Gasland as his shibboleth into that new Hollywood “deep-state,” politic du jour. While we’ll leave judgment of the show’s overall artistic performance to the critics, judgement of his assertions on oil and gas – and those who support it – have already been made…and that’s not going to be changed.

Click here to view the original article on EID's site, which contains embedded audio clips from Fox's presentation.
Audio Player
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Congressman Bill Johnson Tours Drilling Site In Guernsey County

From The Daily Jeffersonian:
Representatives of Ascent Resources and the Ohio Oil and Gas Association hosted U.S. Congressman Bill Johnson on a tour of a Utica shale drilling rig in Guernsey County. Ascent Resources is located in Cambridge, with headquarters in Oklahoma. 
After proceeding through security and watching a safety video, the tour commenced with a walk around the well pad to see the various pieces of equipment on site and how the pad is laid out to ensure safety and efficiency. Next the group checked in with the crew in what is known in the industry as the “doghouse” for a visit. It was there that the Congressman first commented on the impressive technology in place to protect Ohio’s precious water resources. Here, the driller showed the congressman how they take the pipe downhole, what precautions they use during the process and how intricate the equipment used really is. 
While everyone was watching and listening to the crew explain what was happening the gentleman at the controls offered up he was from Ohio and he pointed to the group on the rig floor and shared that they were all from the tristate region. Hiring local is part of an industry wide effort in Ohio to ensure that qualified workers for the tristate area find meaningful employment in the industry that is working in their towns. According to the latest state data, over 200,000 are employed in shale related jobs in Ohio.
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New OOGA Head Confident That Organization is Headed in Right Direction

From The Columbus Dispatch:
Matt Hammond, the new leader of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association knows the organization is heading in the right direction. He just wants to make sure members and others in the industry know that, also.

In a visit to Cambridge recently, Hammond used the term “demand opportunities” several times. That’s because, despite his recent time in his role as the group’s executive vice president, he’s not a newcomer to the industry and knows that’s the next step for the region.

“We need a message more about the oil and gas product,” Hammond said. “We all have to understand how the ripple effect is playing out in Ohio. In Dayton, Cincinnati, they don’t make the connection about how the cost of living has dropped because of the gas and oil industry. Even in those areas, there are construction jobs being created and other industry jobs being created.”

“This increase in natural gas creates jobs, whether it’s construction in the initial phase or later in the development phase,” Hammond said.

Hammond also touched on regulations, saying the industry needs “strong, reasonable, regulations.”
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Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Permitting Slows in Utica Shale as Rig Count Holds at 18



New permits issued last week: 4  (Previous week: 6-2
Total horizontal permits issued: 2889 (Previous week: 2890-1
Total horizontal wells drilled: 2421 (Previous week: 2414+7
Total horizontal wells producing: 2025 (Previous week: 2022+3
Utica rig count: 18 (Previous week: 18+-0

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