Pipelines lead to jobs, securityAug 18, 2017
This letter to the editor appeared in The Columbus Dispatch.
For decades, Ohioans have been struggling as the state economy fails to generate enough opportunity—in fact, Ohio has the fifth-worst level of private-sector job growth from 1990 to 2016. To reverse this trend, we need companies to invest in Ohio and create jobs.
One of our state’s greatest assets for attracting investment is the natural-gas-rich Utica shale rock in southeast Ohio. However, before our state can take full advantage of this energy asset, we need better energy infrastructure such as pipelines that get gas from the well to manufacturers, power plants and our homes.
Ohio’s Utica shale is projected to be one of the two largest sources of growth in natural gas production in the United States over the coming decades, which means high-paying energy jobs for Ohioans. However, there’s a problem: The state’s pipeline infrastructure is already beyond capacity, creating a bottleneck that impedes the ability of energy producers to get gas to its customers.
This limitation makes energy producers less willing to invest more in Ohio and create jobs. The American Association of Civil Engineers gave America’s energy infrastructure a D+ rating on its annual Infrastructure Report Card this year. Much of Ohio’s aging infrastructure was designed to carry energy to the Buckeye state. Now that we produce so much energy, pipelines are needed to move it from Ohio. This means safer, modern pipelines are necessary to alleviate the strain on our existing infrastructure.
Fortunately, some energy-infrastructure investments are already underway, including the Rover Pipeline which will stretch all the way across Ohio.
The pipeline will create up to 6,500 construction jobs in Ohio and pay out more than $600 million in wages. Local landowners are receiving payments to the tune of $120 million, and local governments stand to receive approximately $135 million in property taxes.
These direct benefits are coming from just one project, and there is much more opportunity on the table if we embrace more pipeline development.
Building new pipelines also carries indirect benefits. Many Ohio manufacturers earned new business, such as Ariel Corporation in Mount Vernon being tapped to make compressors for the pipeline. Ohio families and businesses enjoy lower energy bills, freeing up money to save for college or hire more workers.
The Utica shale has given our state the ability to be a major player in America’s energy revolution. If we seize it by encouraging new pipelines, we will see more high-paying blue-collar jobs.
Ohio should embrace this new investment in infrastructure and the opportunities that come with it.
Officer, Strategic Partnerships
The Buckeye Institute