Stark County Commissioner Richard Regula
Stark County Economic Development
March 27, 2013
- Oil & Gas Industry a Boon to Stark County?
- Spin Off to Alliance
- The Hercules Project. Will it Fly?
- Steve Coon - The Onesta?
- A Message to Concerned Citizens of Stark
- ODNR: Can Be Trusted to Protect Environment
- Fuel Cells: "The Wave of the Future"
- A Summation: Gibbs Transportation Symposium (03/26/2013)
- Extension of U.S. Route 30 in Ohio
While Canton is not the “Utica Capital,” as Mayor William J. Healy II enthusiastically dubbed it in his 2012 State of the City speech, it’s nearby. It is the largest city close to the boom in drilling for oil and natural gas in this region, and the resulting economic growth is more apparent by the day.Apparently, these editors have bought lock, stock and barrel Healy's ebullience for oil and natural gas drilling as being inevitably "on the mark," if not so much for Stark County.
It could be that in the end the supposed beneficial permanent effect will turn out to be "a hope and a prayer" invoked by desperate politicians (a la Healy) rather than a reality not only in Stark County but perhaps for all the oil and gas producing areas of Ohio
Notice that the editors use the words "economic growth" not "economic boom" (a tempering of prospects?) that some in the oil and gas industry have predicted in recent years, to wit:
Of course 2025 is a ways off.
However, more and more media reports and editorials are surfacing questioning whether or not the oil and gas industry prophesied numbers will get anywhere near the 530,000 jobs in the industry itself and in spin off to the service and manufacturing sectors of the American economy.
Mayor Healy was dealt a huge blow on his plan for Canton to be the Utica shale capital when it was announced on July 16, 2012 that major fracking player Chesapeake Energy LLC of Oklahoma City announced that its Stark County headquarters would be in the 9,200 citizen city of Louisville rather than in The Hall of Fame City.
Even at that, it appears to the SCPR from comments made by Louisville City Manager Tom Ault about "spin off" jobs that neither Louisville nor Stark County is going to be experiencing anything like what is going on with fracking in North Dakota these days.
North Dakota’s economy has outpaced every state since the recession ended in 2009, with the fastest growth in personal income, tax revenue, jobs and home prices, according to Bloomberg Economic Evaluation of States data. Its 3.2 percent December jobless rate compared with 7.8 percent nationwide. (North Dakota Fracking Boom Leaves Oil Hub a Bust: Muni Credit, Bloomberg.com, Jennifer Oldham, February 26, 2013).And hopefully Louisville will not become another Williston, North Dakota, to wit:
While the U.S. Census counts about 16,000 residents, Williston says it provides services to more than 38,000, including workers living in temporary camps, hotels, and even vehicles. Keeping up with the load is spurring budget gaps that will deplete rainy-day funds, according to Standard & Poor’s, which cut city debt to BBB+ in December, three steps above junk.It does not appear that such will be the case.
Just look at what fracking or lack thereof has developed in Stark County proper so far:
A report surfaced this weekend that three hotels will be going up in the near future at the intersection of I77 and Faircrest that are expected to provide as many as 140 temporary construction jobs and 75 "permanent?" jobs.
Why the question mark?
Because the so called permanent jobs, the SCPR believes, will only last as long has the occupancy rate justifies them.
Who are the hotels designed to house?
Itinerant workers associated with the oil and gas industry, no?
Look again at the Williston, North Dakota experience folks.
Reportedly, the hotel developers will be asking Canton for 10 years worth of tax breaks.
Could the hotels end up being a losing proposition for the taxpayers of Canton if council members/the mayor fail to do their "due diligence?"
Across the nation there are pockets of seeming economic success with fracking for natural gas and oil reserves (wet gas) being the impetuous for the gains. But not nearly as much as hyped.
Take Ohio and this report.
A 1.4% job growth rate growth (2012) does not quite square up with the implied predictions of locals like Mayor Healy and Stark County Commissioner Richard Regula.
Recently, the SCPR sat down with Regula to talk to him about a recent transportation industry job needs symposium hosted at Malone University by 7th District (which includes most of Canton/Stark County) Bob Gibbs (Republican - Holmes County).
However, Regula's enthusiasm for fracking impelled him to veer off topic and extol the potential for Stark County of the production of oil and gas. He was careful to say that the industry can flourish while paying heed to the likes of Chris Borello and her Concerned Citizens of Stark County for environmental factors that environmentalists focus upon as unwanted tag alongs with this form of economic development.
Among Stark County's government leaders, only Plain Township trustee Louis Giavasis has paid serious attention to potential adverse environmental consequences that may come with fracking. Over three years ago he was the lead among Stark government officials in proposing a statewide moratorium and in banning it on and under township owned property.
To their credit, some on Canton City Council have been skeptical of Healy's rah-rah for fracking posture.
And maybe the king of Ohio's fracking enthusiasts (Republican Governor John Kasich) is getting worried, to wit:
If you were going to do a really serious study you would look at these things,” she said. “If water is contaminated and fish die, what are the fishermen going to do? If you have parks where people go for peace and quiet, what happens when you turn it into an industrial landscape? If you have an organic dairy and the soil is polluted, what does that mean? These are all valid questions. (LINK: Grist.org, Ohio fracking boom has not brought jobs, John Upton, March 22, 2013)
A critically important question has been raised in one recent publication:
But what if cheap, domestic natural gas isn't actually sustainable? What if rosy claims of fracking our way to energy independence is just an industry pitch that Washington has bought? (LINK)
Here this from the same article:
Hmm?I've spent thousands of hours working through data and consulting and collaborating with very knowledgeable colleagues, said Art Berman, an oil and gas geologist who heads Labyrinth Consulting, a Houston-based geological consulting firm. Right now, everybody's losing money. And the whole picture is highly tenuous.
Could it be that the likes of Healy and Regula are 21st century Pied-Pipers who could actually be leading Stark County to continued economic development stagnation if not negativity?
Shouldn't Stark Countians be looking long and hard at the leadership of those who are "bananas for those HOT (for now) fracking jobs?
Remember Williston, North Dakota.
Canton, Louisville, and Stark County's taxpayers hardly need to be picking up the the tab for the oil and gas industry, no?