In the Nov. 29 edition of The Jambar, Chris Khumprakob wrote a letter to the editor opposing the natural gas drilling method known as hydraulic fracking. Although her anti-fracking piece may resonate with a portion of your readers, I truly believe a vast majority of people in the Mahoning Valley support fracking and the economic benefits that are associated with it.

In her piece, Ms. Khumprakob cited numerous examples of pollution and other negative environmental effects that come as a result of fracking. What she failed to mention was a Pennsylvania State University College of Agriculture Sciences report released in October of this year that found no significant statistical evidence of contamination of drinking water from hydraulic fracking. The study took place in 200 drinking wells across 20 counties in Pennsylvania that had natural gas wells. Companies that use this method in other parts of the country reinforce their wells with many layers of steel casings and cement to ensure that there is no contamination of drinking water.

With that being said, our community needs this drilling to get our economy back on track. Ever since the late-1970s when the steel mills began to shut down, the Mahoning Valley has been looking for an identity and something to pick us up and get us going again. The Utica and Marcellus shale boom, coupled with the growth in technology companies at the Youngstown Business Incubator, will do just that.

One study suggested that drilling activities in eastern Ohio could create 200,000 jobs for the Buckeye State. In addition, Chesapeake Energy, one of the major players in this energy boom, believes companies will invest $10 billion per year for 20 years in the Ohio Utica shale. These are jobs and economic development this area can ill-afford to oppose due to excessive environmental outrage.

In other parts of the region, communities are already benefiting from this boom. In an Associated Press article from Nov. 20, Lorain, Ohio, Mayor Tony Krasienko talked about a manufacturing resurgence in his city due to shale drilling. He went on to state, “For every manufacturing job, there are between five and seven ancillary jobs created within the community that support those manufacturing jobs.”

Additionally, in Williamsport, Pa., the seventh fastest growing city in America, Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Vince Matteo said, “We have a 7.8 percent growth rate. … The numbers are obvious. The driving rate is the Marcellus shale.”

Finally, right here in Youngstown, V&M is building a $650 million steel mill to build piping for drilling activities that will create 350 new jobs. And they announced on Wednesday that they would invest an additional $57 million in plant renovations to create 100 additional jobs.

As one can see, the economic gain that will come to the Mahoning Valley as a result of drilling in the Utica and Marcellus shales will pay big dividends for this community. We are in desperate need of job creation and the drilling boom will do just that. The naysayers are bound to their environmental agenda and are trying to stand in the way of job creation for students of this great university and workers all across the Mahoning Valley. We need to stand up and support job creation in this area that I am proud to call home.

1 comments Anonymous Tue Dec 4 2012 12:03 Michael Metzinger: GREAT propaganda writing. A student of Romney: state lies as if they are the truth, and most people will not question your motives or your veracity. Shame on you. I hope you get to meet Goebbels in the afterlife, you have much in common.