Guest column/Energy development crucial to Ohio

Many people may be surprised to learn that chemical industries provide a critical foundation for the U.S. economy as a large contributor to our nation’s robust manufacturing sector. By converting raw materials such as natural gas, oil, metals, minerals, air and water, the chemical industry produces thousands of various products used in our daily lives as well as crucial materials for numerous industries and businesses in the U.S. economy. But without our nation’s energy infrastructure, this industry and the sectors it supports cannot assume their place as leaders in the global market.

Without chemistry and its products, luxuries like clean water, an advanced health care system, modern medicine and household products would not exist. And with access to energy supplies, the cost to create and maintain these essential daily functions is controlled. Unfortunately, domestic demand is rapidly increasing for cheaper energy and infrastructure hasn’t been able to keep up. For example, the Midwest currently suffers from a lack of midstream infrastructure projects, forcing industries to relinquish the benefits that are a result of energy development.

Lower production cost is not the only positive outcome from energy development. Construction of pipelines brings a wealth of benefits to the regional and national economy. It specifically encourages growth in support industries as more raw materials become available for industries to utilize. Domestically produced natural gas has already begun to revitalize the U.S. economy, catalyzing competitive advantages for American businesses in the form of additional cost savings.

Communities will also sustain long-term economic growth as energy development strengthens the economy through employment opportunities and tax immersions. Chemistry companies in Ohio already employ 43,650 people and indirectly contribute 59,170 related jobs to the state’s economy. Not to mention, these jobs generate $3.5 billion in earnings and generate more than $1.3 billion in local, state and federal taxes.

With additional access to energy development, companies will be able to lower production costs, ultimately allowing business growth and more opportunities for present and future employees.

Furthermore, construction alone will inject paychecks and taxes back into communities to use on much-needed projects such as school and hospital construction, road repairs and other daily improvements. The Rover Pipeline, which is currently being constructed in the Midwest, will inject $135 million in Ohio alone in taxes, investing back into a community that will also be benefiting from access to reliable, cheap energy.

America’s industries need energy infrastructure to continue to succeed in today’s ultracompetitive global market. The chemistry industry alone is a cornerstone to the economy, supplying much needed products that help keep families safe and secure.

Chemistries use energy supplied by infrastructure to play a vital role in the manufacturing sector, working with raw materials to make the lives of Americans healthier and more productive. Given the crucial role that our energy infrastructure plays in carrying energy to market and ensuring that U.S. businesses and industries thrive, it is critical that Americans recognize the need for major investments in new infrastructure.

(Klein is president of the Ohio Chemistry Technology Council.)

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