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Residents of our area were told to get excited 15 years ago. A new oil and gas boom was on its way. But we’ve heard that before. Most reasonable people took a wait-and-see approach. A new report from the Ohio River Valley Institute — based on U.S. Energy Information Administration data — says the approach is sound.

According to the Ohio Capital Journal, the report examined natural gas output statistics and economic effects in 22 counties that account for 90% of Appalachian gas production. Ohio counties included in the study were Carroll, Jefferson, Harrison, Belmont, Guernsey, Noble and Monroe.

Note that the study was written by an organization that refers to those 22 counties as „Frackalachia.” But the numbers show that since 2008, gas production has „deteriorated” and growth has gone from „modest” gains in 2008 to „absolute collapse”.

„…these findings present a unique and complex challenge to northern Appalachian policymakers and to all of us concerned about the economic well-being of a place that has suffered the most since the collapse of the steel industry in the 1980s,” wrote report author Sean O’Leary. Those policymakers should keep two things in mind: Few households are better off now than they were before the most recent „upturn,” and there’s no way to know how much worse things would have gotten for the region without oil and oil. Gas activity.

With that in mind, it’s important to look at the data, perhaps oil and gas companies aren’t the saviors of our region, they said. That means it’s up to our policymakers to attract new employers who will diversify and strengthen the region’s economy.

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