Survey shows support for Ohio’s natural gas, oil industry

The Daily Jeff – December 19, 2019

GRANVILLE – Eight out of 10 Ohio voters support natural gas and oil development and say the industry is important to their community, and nearly two-thirds of Southeastern Ohio voters oppose banning development in the Ohio Valley, according to newly released public polling sponsored by the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program.

A survey of 400 registered voters in eight southeastern counties found strong approval across all age groups and political affiliations for Utica and Marcellus Shale development. Six in ten voters support continued development in and around the Wayne National Forest, according to the poll conducted by FTI Consulting.

The results align with those from a statewide OOGEEP-commissioned poll conducted earlier this year by Saperstein Associates, which found six out of 10 voters have positive impressions of the natural gas and oil industry.

The statewide poll of 2,102 voters found at least 80 percent of Ohioans agree that the natural gas and oil industry creates local jobs, eases poverty, saves consumers money, drives local manufacturing and provides local workers with education and training.

“Ohioans understand how safe and environmentally responsible shale development is creating local, well-paying jobs and generating new opportunities for manufacturing and economic growth,” said OOGEEP Executive Director Rhonda Reda. “We heard that overwhelmingly both statewide and in the southeast region, where 83 percent of respondents agree the natural gas and oil industry is producing energy in cleaner and more efficient ways.”

Efforts to ban shale development have little favor in southeastern Ohio, where 63 percent oppose such a policy. In the Wayne National Forest, 64 percent of voters support allowing private landowners to continue leasing land and mineral rights for natural gas and oil production.

“The strong bipartisan support we see for this critical industry is a testament to the environmental, economic and community benefits we’re seeing across the state and broader region,” Reda said. “Voters recognize that shale development creates significant cost-savings for consumers and small businesses while employing 200,000 Ohioans, and strengthens our national security as well as communities across the state.”

Additional findings from the FTI survey which had a margin of error of +/- 4.9 percent, indicated 88 percent say the natural gas and oil industry is important to their community.

The survey showed 78 percent support natural gas and oil development and 64 percent oppose a ban on natural gas and oil development in the Ohio Valley. Sixty-three percent support continuing natural gas and oil development in and around the Wayne National Forest.

Finally, 47 percent of voters surveyed say natural gas and oil development will play the biggest role in the future of the state’s economy — 30 points higher than the next closest industry.

The poll, conducted in September, surveyed registered voters in Athens, Belmont, Guernsey, Harrison, Jefferson, Monroe, Noble, and Washington counties.