Ohio can help US redraw world energy map IF regs don’t stand in the way

Greg R. Lawson Nov 15, 2012

The US stands on the cusp of potentially changing the world’s energy map according to the International Energy Agency, and within the US Ohio should become a leader. This is largely due to the shale gas boom that everyone is reading about. Unfortunately, this boom could easily stall for any number of reasons, including policies that emanate from Washington, DC.

As the Wall Street Journal reports,

The IEA, an authoritative source of information on global oil markets, is joining other forecasters such as the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and the U.S. Energy Information Administration in predicting the sharp rise in U.S. oil production in the coming years.

The IEA also said natural gas will displace oil as the largest single fuel in the U.S. energy mix by 2030. U.S. carbon-dioxide emissions from energy consumption were down 5.3% in the first seven months of 2012, compared to the same period a year earlier, according to U.S. government figures. That came as natural gas accounted for 31% of U.S. electricity generation in the first eight months of this year, up from 24% a year earlier.

This is a huge deal. The Utica shale may end up being one of the largest shale plays in the country, according to some, perhaps, as big as number three.

Despite these positive signs, there is a real chance that the opportunity could slide past us.

As Diana Furchtgott-Roth explains in this Washington Examiner piece,

Until now, each state has set its own hydrofracturing rules. But regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency, the Bureau of Land Management and the Department of Energy, among others, are due out in the coming months. They may take the decision-making power away from states and give it to the federal government.

Ohio has been moving forward with its own policies in recent months and years. The worst thing that could happen would be for the US EPA, the same agency that seems intent on driving coal out of business, to sink its claws into regulations regarding accessing shale oil and gas reserves.

Ohio, as well as all other states with shale plays, need to be allowed to develop their own rules for accessing the energy within their territory. This will allow real competition to emerge, for the resources to made available quicker, and for the jobs associated with this nascent industry to come online faster as well. Remember, Ohio stands to gain thousands of jobs not just in the direct oil and gas industry, but in all types of downstream operations. These include, but are in no way limited to steel manufacturing for pipelines, the chemical industry that uses various “wet gas” components, transportation, road construction and even the hospitality industry.

Additionally, the Ohio General Assembly has also recently passed legislation that will assure future development of the shale in the state is done safely. Again, note that the state did this, not Washington, DC.

Washington does not know best and Ohio’s officials should make sure to remind DC bureaucrats of that whenever those bureaucrats threaten the state’s prosperity through ill-conceived or ill-informed decision.