Governor John Kasich made a stop in the Y-City Wednesday evening. He spoke at the Campus Center at Ohio University-Zanesville and Zane State on the upcoming exploration of natural gas in the Marcellus and Utica shales and how it could mean a big economic boom for Ohio. Click the video link on the left to watch WHIZ Reporter Mark Bullion’s full story.
"I’m very optimistic that this is going to work," said Governor John Kasich.
Kasick spoke to mostly elected officials on the hot topic of natural gas drilling in the Marcellus and Utica shales in much of central and eastern Ohio. The layers of rock thousands of feet below the surface are a gold mine not only for money, but for putting Ohioans and only Ohioans back to work.
"This is something that should go on for a while, this is not a one year deal, this is a multiple year deal so you want to make sure you answer the needs of these companies and make it clear to them that we expect an Ohio preference for people that need to work," said Kasich.
As for environmental groups who oppose the idea of drilling for natural gas, Kasich says he hasn’t seen much in the way of that yet but knows the economic impact will be a ripple effect felt across the state.
"The people that are here who are working in this industry, they will be down at the ice cream bowl and they will be at the barbershop and staying in our hotels so it could be very good for us," added Kasich.
So where do you get Ohio workers who are trained to do natural gas and oil drilling? That’s where Zane State College steps in with a curriculum that addresses the entire energy sector.
"We have the only natural gas engineering technology program approved by the Ohio Board of Regents right now in the state," said Zane State College President Dr. Paul Brown.
Dr. Brown has seen a drastic increase in interest of the energy program offered at Zane State, a sure sign today’s student’s will be tomorrow’s workers making for a better and stronger Ohio.
"Our vision is to be able to create a high tech corridor here in Appalachia and turn Appalachia into a real economic asset to the state," said Dr. Brown.
Governor Kasich says it’s important that the process for getting started is slow taking into account all the environmental issues associated with the drilling along with addressing the public’s concerns.