By Cal Dooley, President and CEO, American Chemistry Council Discoveries of abundant natural gas and liquids in Ohio and neighboring states are driving a major drilling boom in the region. Against this backdrop, Ohio Gov. John Kasich is calling together the industry’s thought leaders for what promises to be a lively and potentially controversial discussion during the “Ohio Governor’s 21st Century Energy & Economic Summit.” I'm honored to be chosen to serve as moderator for one of a dozen panels, all focused on energy and economic development. Our panel, "Midstream, Downstream and Feedstock Opportunities," will address a number of issues related to this significant opportunity for Ohio. A goal of the summit is to generate everyone’s collective best thinking about the critical issues for the Kasich Administration to consider in crafting an economically viable, environmentally sustainable energy plan that will support robust economic development – and set a model for progressive energy policies nationwide. I personally want to let Ohio know that abundant shale gas is giving the U.S. chemical industry a competitive advantage in the global market, and that chemical companies are looking to capitalize on that advantage by making new investments – and creating new jobs – in areas endowed with shale gas, including Ohio. Developing the appropriate regulatory policies that allow the development of shale gas will result in manufacturers investing in Ohio and other states sitting atop the Marcellus and Utica shale formations. This summit is a great way to connect abundant and affordable natural gas to a thriving manufacturing economy. Specifically looking at drilling opportunities in the Marcellus and Utica regions, panelists focusing on upstream will discuss how shale development will be the basis for an alternative-fuel economy and how this will affect Ohio’s job market and training opportunities for the labor force. I am privileged to be joined on my panel by four leaders of major U.S. corporations with a wealth of experience in energy development. I'm excited about the knowledge transfer that will take place, as well as the opportunity to share ideas and debate the next steps required to help make the great state of Ohio become a national energy leader. And, of course, Ohio isn’t ignoring the environmental ramifications and public concerns about energy development. I will be interested in hearing what is discussed during other panels, such as “The Environment, Technology and Community Impact” session, which will focus on how Ohio’s oil and gas industry, regulators and community stakeholders can best work together to strike a balance. One of this session’s panelists, Thomas Stewart with the Ohio Oil and Gas Association, recently shared his thoughts on why working together for Ohio is so important. Stewart has worked closely with state regulators to make sure Ohio doesn’t fall behind and miss a great economic opportunity within the oil and gas industry. We hope the conversations from these business and industry leaders, energy and environmental stakeholders, and public policy thought leaders from across the nation will help Ohio share ideas about how to build a comprehensive energy policy that will stimulate: 1) economic growth; 2) job creation; and 3) global competitiveness. Doing all of this while recognizing the environmental challenges critical to responsible energy development and stewardship of Ohio’s natural resources will be a true win for all of Ohio. For detailed information about the summit’s panelists and discussion topics, see the full agenda. The summit will be held at the Ohio Union at Ohio State University on Sept. 21-22. To ensure that the summit program is available to everyone in real time, the two-day program will be available via live webcast. The link to the webcast will be added at www.battelle.org/energypolicy shortly before the summit. Go to www.battelle.org/conference/ohioenergy/registration.aspx for information about being added to the registration wait list.
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