Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Low Gas Prices Benefit Ohioans: Methane Mandates are Not the Answer

Guest Column from State Representative Jim Buchy

We have all noticed the drop in gas prices. While this will probably be temporary, right now it is saving Ohioans a significant amount of money. Ohioans now have access to increased discretionary spending which will continue to grow the economy in the state. Policies initiated by Governor Kasich and the legislature to increase energy exploration in eastern Ohio have also helped to reduce our winter heating fuel expenses.

Lower energy prices benefit the growth of small businesses. With business owners paying less for energy, they can focus more on expanding, and improving their business. This means there are more opportunities for Ohioans to get jobs.

Even after an accident at the Husky Energy Refinery in Lima, the gas markets did not drastically change. This shows the resiliency of our energy sector here in Ohio. However, I believe that looming actions by the federal government threaten our affordable energy prices.

I believe that Washington does not understand the importance of promoting continued affordable energy. The current leadership there has a history of being anti-fossil fuel, and recently White House officials described a plan to increase the mandates on methane output from the oil and gas industry. This is similar to the policies that are debilitating the coal industry in the eastern part of our state.

The methane output by the oil and gas industry is part of the natural cycle in the industry that allows it to be environmentally stable. When the methane molecule breaks apart it creates the H2O molecule thus replenishing the water supply used in the process for oil and gas exploration. If the mandates on methane output are enacted, we may actually see more harm done to the environment.

These mandates and policies threaten our current low energy prices. If the price at the pump increases, Ohioans will see our recent economic growth impeded. I will continue working in favor of policies that keep the prices affordable for our citizens, and create opportunities for Ohioans to get jobs.

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