Earlier this week the U.S. Forest Service delayed the lease sale of approximately 3,300 acres in the Wayne National Forest for shale oil and gas drilling. The Forest Service states that conditions have changed since the 2006 Forest plan was developed.
The exploration and development of shale oil and gas is creating thousands of jobs across Ohio and neighboring states, and providing a significant economic boost to the local communities. The impacts of shale exploration and development are felt throughout the economy, from the companies that do the fracturing all the way to the local restaurants and hotels.
Just recently the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program estimated that drilling in the Utica shale in Ohio would produce up to 204,500 jobs by 2015. These much-needed jobs are put at risk with the delay of the lease sale.
Manufactures remain concerned with how this delay and potential future delays will directly impact their energy costs and ability to compete. Access to affordable sources of energy is directly linked to the competitiveness of manufacturers as they use one-third of our nation’s energy supply.
We are hopeful that this lease sale delay in the Wayne National Forest does not trigger a chain reaction for similar delays throughout the country, potentially locking up an important resource and driver of job creation. Our nation needs jobs and shale development provides a tremendous opportunity for job creation as well as access to an important and valuable new source of energy.
Chip Yost is vice president for energy and resources policy, National Association of Manufacturers.
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