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Give gas and oil a fair chance

Dear Editor,

I write to express my family’s disappointment to the May 8 piece from Ms. (Jill) Hunkler and her negative thoughts regarding our elected officials and the natural gas industry.

I am attending Ohio University to get my master’s degree in engineering to hopefully follow in my dad’s footsteps and work in the oil and gas industry myself. My dad worked for various pipeline companies in the area for the last few decades. That hard work provided for our family, and we are proud of him.

We also leased our family farm to a gas company to drill, and my family used that money to help send me to school. These are just some of the reasons why I support natural gas.

Our family thanks the many local and state officials who stood up for us, our jobs, and my future, by using their platform to speak positively about natural gas and the jobs it is bringing to our area. These folks have been taking it on the chin from a handful of loud, outspoken people who do not have science, history, or the facts on their side. Everything I have learned at Ohio University has taught me that the oil and gas industry is important to Ohio. This is why I want to pursue a career in the industry.

Despite the negative tones some bring to the conversation about energy, I want to bring a positive tone and stand up for what is right for my family, friends, and community.

It disappoints me that people attack an industry without considering the ramifications for our youth. The gas industry provides schools for our children to learn in, sports facilities to help combat the child obesity epidemic, and job opportunities that will keep our best young people in the area. I care about the air we breathe and the water we drink and will work tirelessly to protect both. That is why I am furthering my education, so that I may be the best I can be. This is not just for myself and my family, but also for those I grew up with and the environment.

There are lots of numbers and data put out by both sides of the debate on energy. But “no” is not an energy policy.

Natural gas provides the reliable and abundant resources we need to keep our state going. I am not a number, I am not a statistic, I am just someone who calls this place home and will work hard to leave it better than I found it, which is what my dad taught me.

So, I say to Ms. Hunkler, give me a chance to prove to you that I will do a good job because I care about the Ohio Valley and I will work tirelessly to not just protect it, but enhance it by making it a great place to live, work, and raise a family. We can, and should, have energy produced right here at home while we have a clean and safe environment and I want to be part of that effort. This is not an “either/or” situation. This is a “both/and” situation. We must consider both the economic and environmental impacts of any energy choice, and move forward for a brighter future for southeast Ohio.

Cole Neuhart

Senecaville

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