Canton Repository. For quite some time, the oil and gas industry has recognized the need for expanded energy infrastructure to transport oil and natural gas being produced in Ohio in greater quantities as a result of new horizontal drilling techniques. Presently, Ohio is the focus of three major pipeline projects. While the general response has been positive, there have been pockets of resistance by municipalities and landowners, occasionally resulting in litigation. While I appreciate the concerns of those whose lands are directly affected, on balance I believe these projects will prove beneficial to the citizens of Ohio.

My research leads me to the conclusion that pipelines are one of the safest and most reliable methods of transporting natural oil and gas. The historical track record is very positive. The pipeline industry is held to rigorous safety requirements, continuous oversight and periodic inspections.

A recent study by the Price Waterhouse firm revealed that the Ohio oil and gas industry supports over 262,000 jobs in the state and contributed 37.9 billion to the Ohio economy in the year 2015 alone. Much of the money generated by energy activities will go into the coffers of local government where it can be used, among other things, for infrastructure maintenance and improvement and to maintain and expand safety forces.

I also believe the completion and operation of the pipelines will contribute to lower energy costs and reductions in carbon emissions. Increased production from Ohio and across the country will also help wean us from our dependence of foreign production.

I encourage all Ohio citizens to do their own research to gain an appreciation of the substantial benefits bestowed on our state by this great industry presently and for years to come.

By Bruce Smith, Alliance

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