MARIETTA, Ohio -- As the race for Ohio's Sixth Congressional District begins in the state's Appalachian counties, those vying for the position agree on at least one thing: the importance of oil and gas to Ohio's development.
Earlier this week, U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson compared the effort to achieve energy independence to President John F. Kennedy's call for a moon landing in the 1960's. Johnson said that House Republicans are making a push toward what he believes is a true "all-of-the-above" approach to a national energy policy, stating that all fossil fuels must continue playing a major role in providing energy to the nation.
Johnson's lone Democratic opponent, former state Rep. Jennifer Garrison, called the abundance of shale gas "a game-changer" for Ohio's future. As an attorney based in Marietta, Garrison represented more than 1,000 landowners in negotiating natural gas leases in southeast Ohio.
Abstracting, drilling, fracking, pipelining and processing are bringing hundreds of millions of dollars to eastern Ohio. Billions of dollars worth of pipelines and processing facilities are being built from Marietta to Zanesville and from Canton to Steubenville.