Ohio River Valley’s Story of Recovery

Next week I return to the Ohio River Valley for The New York Times to 1) report on how oil and gas mineral leasing is making thousands of Ohio River Valley working families wealthy, and 2) how new urban development strategies, including a streetcar line and a $1 billion mixed-use riverfront project, are writing a 21st century narrative for Cincinnati’s economy and quality of life.

A beautiful river valley makes its way back to national relevance.

Later this summer, I’ll report on similar trends emerging in Louisville.

These article ideas and others I reported in recent months tell a vitally important story about the people and places that are inventing the rapidly evolving and much healthier new economy of the Ohio River Valley. Last year, during a five-month What’s Done, What’s Next: A Civic Pact project in Owensboro, Kentucky, I was afforded a rare opportunity to understand how a mid-size Ohio River city decided to take a number of exceptional steps to prepare itself for the new market opportunities of the 21st century.

As I noted several times in the project’s public meetings, Owensboro’s development strategy is nationally significant, a point stressed in a Times article on November 15, 2011.

Perhaps the most important dimension of Owensboro’s chosen path is its ability to embrace development as a shared responsibility. That single value, understanding that collaboration is essential to achievement, is a departure from how states and the national government are contending with the rapid change that is engulfing the country.

What’s Done, What’s Next: A Civic Pact also allowed me to spend time in Louisville and Evansville, and to tour some of the 72 counties in six states that share the 1,000-mile river’s shoreline. I came away from that project, and from reporting this year on the energy boom upriver, with the clear conviction that an important American story was unfolding in Ohio River communities that was not receiving the attention it merited.

It seems to me, in short, that the Ohio River Valley is a new nexus where urban leadership, new governing strategies, manufacturing technology, transportation, environmental quality, and energy development are intersecting with increasing momentum and national economic relevance.

Ohio Riiver passes Steubenville.

This, of course, is not a new role for the river. The Ohio River Valley was a highway to the developing Midwest and West, a liberty line used by slaves escaping from the South to the North, a source of water, resources, and transport for the industrialization that built 20th century America.

It’s just that during most of the last two generations the Ohio River Valley was warped by deindustrialization, disinvestment, depopulation, and all manner of economic and environmental deterioration. I recall, vividly, the days I spent upriver in East Liverpool, Ohio in the early 1990s when just about the only new industrial facility under construction along the entire river was a toxic waste incinerator next door to an elementary school.

That era of decay is rapidly giving way to a new age of dynamism in the Ohio River’s big cities, and new economic opportunities in many of the smaller communities and rural counties. The Owensboro story, told in What’s Done, What’s Next: A Civic Pact, is emblematic of the river’s new narrative. In Owensboro, trends in improving environmental quality, land use, educational investment, research and innovation, parks and recreation, energy use and development, high tech manufacturing, and rising farm commodity values are leading to a better place to live and do business.

Though the influencing factors differ from place to place, much the same story is unfolding all along the river. Warrick County, Indiana is growing, in large part due to its stronger export oriented farm sector, and lower energy costs. Pittsburgh’s universities are global leaders in high-tech research and bio-tech development. The University of Louisville is a health research leader and medical provider, among other accomplishments, and Jefferson County is growing at a faster rate than at any time in the last 50 years.

There are, to be sure, plenty of negatives, too, like the joblessness and poverty that linger from the age of industrial obsolescence that came to characterize the Ohio River as the nation’s rust belt. As I wrote in a March 20, 2012 ModeShift blog post, for two generations few places so darkly illustrated the erosion in American industrial vitality, and the heart sore circumstances of its people, than the upper Ohio River Valley. The 145 miles of river from Pittsburgh to Marietta, strikingly beautiful as it flowed past rounded hills, also drained a landscape of shuttered plants, broken towns, and lives bent by lost jobs and frantic worry. Sociologists and historians episodically descended on one river town or another to study the choices people made to stay, or to go. Journalists also came, treating the valley as a prime specimen in the nation’s laboratory of ruin.

New investment and economic vitality is eclipsing that era. In its place is emerging a new period of promise. That story has not been told in any substantive way. Much of the literature of the Ohio River Valley either preserves it in the amber of its westward influence, or the smoky glory of its early 20th century industrialization.

Now a fortunate convergence of new governing strategies and economic tools are producing a new era of prosperity in the Ohio River Valley. Those very same ideas — developed and executed out of the spotlight in the heart of the country — arguably have as much importance to the nation’s capacity to thrive as Silicon Valley, the energy production alley of the Rocky Mountain West, or the Boston to New York financial corridor.

— Keith Schneider

U.S. Energy Boom Lifts Ohio’s Steel Industry: Latest New York Times Article

Long billets of steel the color of the sun are poured, turned, and pounded in a fury of smoke and flame at the Timken steel plant in Canton. Photo/Keith Schneider

CANTON, Oh. – Orders for steel from domestic and export markets plunged so low in May 2009 that the Timken Company’s mill here on Faircrest Street operated for just four days that month. Nearly three years later, with demand for steel soaring and the Faircrest mill operating around the clock, Timken started construction in early March on a $200 million, 83,000-square-foot addition to boost the plant’s production.

Just as Ohio’s presidential election has accurately predicted the winner since Lyndon Johnson was in the Oval Office, the condition of Ohio’s steel sector is a useful state and national economic indicator. The Ohio steel industry, led by a drilling boom in the gas and oil industry, and reviving demand for cars and light trucks, is growing again.

“The need for specialty steel, much of it for oil and natural gas producers, is high in the United States and around the world. We see demand in that market continuing to be healthy for quite some time,” said Salvatore J. Miraglia Jr., the president of Timken’s steel group.

Last month I visited Ohio to report for The New York Times on the consequences of the oil and gas boom to Ohio’s steel industry. This article is the draft that I sent the Times, which published the article today. 

Timken’s new building, which will rise 26-stories from its base 80-feet below the surface, will sharply expand the plant’s capacity to cast steel billets to be made into parts for drilling platforms, heavy equipment, and other oil and gas industry tools. Two other new buildings also are underway at the 27-year-old mill – a  $35 million, 13,000-square -foot addition to house a new forge press, and a $25 million 14,600-square-foot installation for adding to molten metal the minerals and other compounds that add strength to finished steel.

Across Ohio, other steel manufacturers also are expanding operations. In October United States Steel opened a $100 million, 325,000-square-foot mill at its Lorain plant to manufacture steel pipe for the drilling industry. Vallourec & Mannesmann, a French manufacturing company, is completing a new $650 million, 1.1 million-square-foot steel pipe mill in Youngstown, and is building a separate $57 million, 200,000-square-foot mill nearby to add threads to the pipes. Both plants serve the oil and gas sector.

United States Steel’s Lorain Plant
United States Steel is collaborating with its Japan-based partner, Kobe Steel, to build a $400 million, 454,000-square-foot addition to the PRO-TEC plant in Leipsic, south of Toledo, to serve the growing market for high-tensile lightweight steel used by makers of high-mileage, fuel-efficient vehicles.

United States Steel's new Lorain pipe finishing plant in Ohio. Photo/Keith Schneider

“We haven’t had this kind of expansion in steel since the 1980s,” added Eric Burkland, the president of the Ohio Manufacturers’ Association. “It’s a tremendous turnaround.”

All together, the new production projects account for nearly $1.5 billion in spending on construction and equipment in Ohio’s steel industry, and over 2 million square feet of manufacturing space. When all the projects are completed later this year and next, the four plants alone will add roughly 630 new manufacturing jobs and are likely to help shrink Ohio’s jobless rate, which was 7.5 percent in March. That is below the 8.2 percent U.S. rate, and down from a statewide peak of 10.6 percent in July 2009.

The projects also will help Ohio’s steel sector, the nation’s second largest behind Indiana, to exceed the annual production — 14 million to 15 million tons – achieved in the years prior to 2009 when production dropped to 4.8 million tons, and investment in plants was just $166 million, according to the Ohio Steel Council, a state trade group.

One reason for the industry’s revival, said Mr. Burkland, was anticipated: the recovery of the auto industry. “People feel more confident and they are buying cars again,” he said.

Auto Industry Revives
The national auto sector, a big buyer of steel, is expected this year to deliver 13.8 million cars and light trucks, and could reach 14 million to 15 million deliveries by 2014, according to monthly sale figures and industry estimates. Industry sales peaked at 17 million in 2005, but plunged to 10.9 million sales in 2009 in the heart of the Great Recession. The Ohio Department of Development, in a February 2011 report, said 72,000 people are employed in the state’s car and light truck vehicle assembly plants, and dozens of parts manufacturing plants.

But the huge surge in oil and gas drilling in the U.S. and the swift rise in the market for steel pipes and oilfield equipment, has come as a surprise. The clanging of long lengths of steel pipes being heated and cooled, pounded and straightened inside United States Steel’s Lorain Tubular Operation’s new pipe finishing plant provides a rare inside view of the industry’s revival in Ohio.

The bright lights and charged furnaces, the powerful hiss of cold water on hot steel, and the jarring din that makes ear plugs mandatory safety equipment, describe a company and an industry leveraging investments few thought possible only a few years ago.

“We’re shipping pipe to drillling operations in Pennsylvania, North Dakota, Texas,. China. All over the country. All over the world,” said John Wilkinson, the plant’s interim manager. “Some of it is being used here in Ohio.”

New production practices have made it practical to tap the dense and deep hydrocarbon-rich shales that lie beneath much of the Great Plains, Gulf Coast, Rocky Mountain West, and mid-Atlantic states, and they are being tapped at a frantic pace. Last year, according to the Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration, the number of oil and gas drilling rigs in operation across the U.S. reached an average of 1,876 a month. That is the highest rig count since 2008. More than 45,000 oil and gas wells were drilled in the U.S. in 2011, and a third of the nation’s natural gas is generated from shale.

Beneath 17,000 square miles of eastern and central Ohio lie two layers of deep gas and oil-bearing shale, the Marcellus and the Utica. Some $3 billion, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, is being spent in Ohio now on drilling and production, processing, transport, steel plant expansions and other supply chain manufacturing to serve the fossil fuel sector.

Lots of Steel Drilling Pipe
It takes a lot of steel to tap reserves that generally lie a mile or more beneath the surface. Each of the 4.5 -inch diameter, 50-foot long drilling pipes rolling off the production line in Lorain weighs 850 pounds. Drilling vertically to the depth of the shale in Ohio, and horizontally through it to tap gas and oil typically takes 2,000 to 2,500 lengths of pipe or some 100 tons of steel.  As of April 8, Ohio had issued 207 shale drilling permits. Early production results indicate Utica wells are capable of producing millions of cubic feet of gas and 500 barrels of oil daily.

Thousands more deep shale wells are expected in Ohio, perhaps as many as 1,600 new wells a year by 2015, according to the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program, an industry financed research and education group.

David Mustine, the general manager of JobsOhio, a state economic development group, points out that natural gas is a favored fuel for heating steel and that the new supplies are lowering prices, and saving steel plants millions of dollars a years. “Drilling for natural gas has given Ohio steel producers a larger market for their products and a competitive advantage on cost,” said Mr. Mustine.

In Canton, Timken executives expect to complete all of the Faircrest mill’s additions by 2014, and production will increase to 925,000 tons annually from 750,000 tons this year.  Mr. Miraglia said 425 people work at the plant and that state-of-the-art automation in the new buildings will likely mean adding few if any new jobs.  Behind  him long billets of steel the color of the sun were being poured, turned, and pounded in a fury of smoke and flame. “This is the largest investment made in this plant since we built it,” Mr. Miraglia said.

— Keith Schneider


Timken is expandiing production at its Faircrest Mill in Canton. Photo/Keith Schneider


Fossil Fuel Boom Is One of Several Trends Leading Ohio River Cities Back To Economic Relevance

Gas drilling, fossil fuel boom, upper Ohio River, rust belt
Gas drilling, fossil fuel boom, upper Ohio River, rust belt
After decades of job loss, income erosion, and industrial obsolescence, the cities and states of the Ohio River valley are leading an economic revival. Here the river flows near New Martinsville, West Virginia. Photo/Heather Rousseau

Thomas Jefferson once said, “The Ohio is the most beautiful river on earth. Its current gentle, waters clear, and bosom smooth and unbroken by rocks and rapids, a single instance only excepted.”

Downriver from Louisville, Kentucky, where the 1,000-mile long Ohio River reaches its widest points, and the mirroring waters slip by miles of unbroken hardwood forests, it’s possible to witness some of the very same beauty that inspired Jefferson.

The Ohio is much in my mind of late. A year ago I spent time in Wellsville, Ohio, south of Pittsburgh, where a West Coast developer proposed a multi-billion dollar industrial plant to convert coal to liquid fuels. Last summer, I spent weeks in Owensboro, Kentucky to report on the mid-sized river city’s authentic work to understand and react surprisingly well to the new market trends of the 21st century. I visited Louisville, one of the largest Ohio River cities, where Mayor Greg Fisher is leading a downtown reconstruction program, and the city just joined with Bruce Katz and the Brookings Institution’s peerless metropolitan research and planning group to foster a new economic strategy for the city and the region.

Change in total number of manufacturing jobs in metropolitan areas, 1954-2002. Maroon=greater than 58% loss Red=43%-56% loss  Pink=31%-43.2% loss Yellow=8.7%-29.1% loss United States average: 8.65% loss.

Last month I was in Sardis, Ohio and New Martinsville, West Virginia to report on the massing industrialization by the energy industry to drill the drill the deep shales on the Ohio side of the river for oil and gas. The Pennsylvania side has been a heavy drilling zone for four years, which is one of the reasons that the February unemployment rate in the Pittsburgh metropolitan region was 6.7 percent. That’s nearly two percentage points below the national average.

Cincinnati is redeveloping its historic Over-the-Rhine neighborhood, fostering the development of state of the art marketing and communications enterprises, and is building a streetcar line.

What a change in direction. For two decades at the end of the 20th century, the cities and states of the upper Ohio River were the pitted and marked buckle of the nation’s rust belt. The map at right illustrates the obsolescence and job loss that separated Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Wheeling and the smaller cities along the upper Ohio from the rest of the nation. Downstream, Cincinnati and Louisville also slipped into a generation or more of disinvestment and downtown decay.

That is no longer the case in Pittsburgh, now a showcase of research and innovation; Louisville, with its beautiful historic neighborhoods and great downtown university that make it one of the sweetest places to live in the country, or Cincinnati, a laboratory of social innovation. Further downriver, the soaring commodity markets for farm products are elevating the moods of Indiana and Illinois river cities. Even the wrecked river towns of Ohio and West Virginia, where steel and chemical plants fell victim to globalization, are finding themselves engulfed by an energy boom that is bringing $billions in new investment in energy processing, production, and transport infrastructure.

The Ohio River has few equals as a metaphor for the nation’s condition or spirit. During days of settlement it was the water highway, used by millions of Americans, to migrate into the Midwest and West. During slavery, it was the last physical barrier that brave men and women crossed to freedom. In the mid-20th century, it generated the energy, made the steel, built the cars, and supported the metropolitan regions that supported America’s drive-through economy of suburban convenience. Its cleanup in the 1980s and 1990s heralded the new era of environmental economics, especially those factors associated with metropolitan redevelopment. And its industrial decay was a foreshadowing of the immense transition and costs of keeping pace with the rest of the world, particularly Asia.

History, as viewed by most Americans, is one or two straight story lines in which a central character working with a select group of leaders makes the right choices and everything is closed so neatly. In reality, history is more like a slow-moving weather system in which people and institutions are often blown about like leaves in a storm. The revival of the Ohio River Valley today tells us something important about the people and river communities finding new paths to well-being, and about the country. Perhaps we are doing more as a nation than we give ourselves credit for, and certainly that appears to be the case in this pummeled American river valley, to understand the influence of  events and the need to establish a more dynamic foundation for making and acting on big ideas.

— Keith Schneider

Kentucky BioProcessing, a high-tech producer of plant-based pharmaceuticals, in Owensboro, Kentucky. Photo/Craig Schneider, Power Creative

Along A River of Descent, New Riches in Ohio


SARDIS, Ohio — Frank Ellis, who is a 51-year-old electrician from this Ohio River Valley town, spent much of his time since high school working upriver at the PPG plant in Natrium, West Virginia. He owns 140 acres and the rights to the oil and gas below them.

Denny Cowley (in pix below) is a 55-year-old sheet metal worker who was raised on a dairy farm near Canton, Ohio, and 16 years ago bought a 47-acre place just outside Sardis, with its mineral rights intact, where he settled into a life of hard work, hunting, and friends. He drives a Ford F-350 pickup, with a big diesel that whines as he shifts gears on the steep and narrow roads that climb to hill summits on both sides of the river that are becoming staging areas for oil and gas drilling and production.

The great American energy boom that is rewriting the narrative on oil and gas production in the United States, raising growing levels of civic angst about safety, and helping to push the country out of the Great Recession, is arriving in force along the Ohio River. Upriver on the Ohio side, in Columbiana, Carroll, Jefferson, and Mahoning counties, drilling has already started and big mineral leasing checks arrived last year, lots of them with six and seven figures.denny-ohio-millionaire

Ellis (with Sharon Davis in pix above) and Cowley have spent the last six months helping to organize mineral owners around Sardis into an 8,000-acre block of mineral rights, more than enough to negotiate a lucrative lease that is, they say, “fair to everyone.” The two men have been spending a good bit of time meeting at Marv’s Place, the welcoming American cuisine cafe near the center of this town of 2,000 that was established over a decade ago by Sharon Davis. The cafe, with a long hardwood counter and big storefront display windows, is in the same two-story, 118-year-old brick building her grandfather once owned. Davis and her family own 168 acres of mineral rights.

Except for the prayers directed at lottery tickets, and the musings about accumulated wealth that occasionally cross the minds of hard working people unaccustomed to having money, neither Ellis, Cowley, nor Davis seriously considered the chance that their savings accounts would one day be filled to the brim. Then came Saturday, when the three joined some 200 other mineral-owning men and women at the Sardis Elementary School. The occasion: signing an oil and gas production lease with Eclipse Resources that instantly made the lessees financially comfortable, and could — if energy production soars — turn most into eventual millionaires.

“People stuck together and we got a good deal,” said Ellis.

Eclipse agreed to pay $4,250 for each acre of minerals leased for the first three years of the agreement. If Eclipse or its successors do not start a well in that time, mineral owners gain $1,000 more per leased acre. Other financial returns include a 20 percent royalty on gas and oil production, and a 20 percent royalty on production of liquid gas condensates like propane and ethane. By one estimate, made by a petroleum engineer who joined the negotiating unit and owns several hundred acres of minerals, the agreement will help ensure that every leased acre will generate $25,000 to $30,000 over the life of hydrocarbon production in the region, which could last 30 years.

“We wanted to bring something good here,” said Cowley. “The more we could get together, and stick together, and pull our acreage together, the more power we had to negotiate. We wanted something that was good for everybody.”

In an era riven by civic discord, the Sardis lease represents a rare feat of community cooperation achieved despite the competing emotions of greed, envy, and uncertainty. The latter three, of course, are generally exploited by gas and oil companies that swoop into energy-rich communities to take advantage of mineral owners who know nothing. I saw it happen here in my home region of Benzie and Manistee counties in northern Michigan, the western edge of the Antrim shale natural gas boom of the 1990s. Mineral rights owners signed five and ten-year leases for $10 an acre and 1/6th royalties that gave the energy companies pretty much the right to do whatever they wanted.

The Sardis mineral owners weren’t as naive. They turned for expert guidance to Jennifer Garrison, a lawyer from Marietta, Matthew Warnock, a lawyer from Columbus, and Bob Chase, a professor of petroleum engineering at Marietta College. The model lease that was signed on Saturday includes protections for the region’s water, safeguards to the land, and substantial returns for valley residents fortunate enough to own their minerals. The lease includes a provision that requires Eclipse to pay 80 percent of the increase in property taxes that could materialize as oil money draws new residents and land values rise. And the lease requires Eclipse to pay the 4.5 percent fee charged by the lawyers and Professor Chase.

Cowley smiles when he explains that provision. “This is going to help a lot of people here,” he said. “I can do improvements on my property. I can do some nice things for my family. It’s a good feeling to bring something that’s good for this community.”

The last point can hardly be overstated. For two generations, few places so darkly illustrated the erosion in American industrial vitality, and the heart sore circumstances of its people, than the upper Ohio River Valley. The 145 miles of river from Pittsburgh to Marietta, strikingly beautiful as it flowed past rounded hills, also drained a landscape of shuttered plants, broken towns, and lives bent by lost jobs and frantic worry. Sociologists and historians episodically descended on one river town or another to study the choices people made to stay, or to go. Journalists also came, treating the valley as a prime specimen in the nation’s laboratory of ruin. In the early 1990s, conditions had become so grave that residents and workers in East Liverpool, upriver from here, campaigned to build just about the only new industrial facility still interested in the upper Ohio — a big toxic waste incinerator constructed near an elementary school.

Last week, for the second time in a year, I spent some time in the upper Ohio River valley and found a much different mood. People were nervous, but not because another plant had announced a closing. They wondered how the new oil and gas wealth would change their lives and speed up towns accustomed to having no pace other than the passing of old people to the grave and young people moving out.

“Things will change now,” said Sharon Davis. “We know that. It could be fantastic for this community. It could also affect one of the really good things about this place. Our quaintness. Nobody likes change too much.”


— Keith Schneider

Fossil Fuel Boom Shakes Ohio, Spurring Torrent of Investment and Worry Over Water

Little Hocking

Photo © Heather Rousseau/Circle of Blue

WELLSVILLE, OHIO – A torrent of investment in mineral leases, manufacturing plants, pipeline constructiion, and drilling platforms signals what business executives and state energy officials say is the most significant surge in oil and gas development in Ohio in decades.

But the development of the Marcellus and Utica shales, two hydrocarbon-rich rock layers that lie beneath much of eastern Ohio, also is producing fresh public concerns about the consequences to public safety and the state’s waters from disposing of millions of barrels of contaminated oilfield wastewater.

On Friday, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) imposed tough new wastewater disposal regulations on the operators of the state’s 176 deep injection wastewater disposal wells. The new rules, prompted by earthquakes last year that were centered around a year-old injection well in Youngstown, will make Ohio’s Class II deep injection wells among the most stringently monitored and regulated in the nation.

The other features of the new taxonomy of energy development, which span the promise of big job growth and the peril of inadequate oversight, are on display in and around this Ohio River Valley town of 3,800. Plans to build a $US 6 billion coal-to-liquid-fuels plant on a bluff above Wellsville were modified last fall in favor of a $US 3 billon gas-to-liquids (GTL) plant that would use natural gas to create 50,000 barrels (2.1 million gallons) of diesel and naphtha fuel each day. The switch is breathing new life into the project, which has struggled for four years to secure funding.

Total SA, France’s largest oil company, announced just after the start of the year that it had paid $US 2.32 billion to Chesapeake Energy Corp. and EnerVest for 250,500 hectares (619,000 acres) of mineral rights in northeastern Ohio. Natural gas companies are offering landowners in Wellsville and surrounding communities up to $US 5,800 an acre for mineral leases.

Royal Dutch Shell also is scanning the Ohio River Valley for a site to build a multi-billion dollar plant to convert natural gas to ethylene. “We are now assessing various possible longer-term options to use domestically abundant natural gas in new ways, extending its application beyond current industrial and residential uses and as a fuel to make electricity, including a natural-gas-to-liquids facility in the U.S.,” Kayla Macke, media relations coordinator at Shell Oil, wrote in a statement to Circle of Blue.

Chesapeake Energy, by far the largest investor in the Utica and Marcellus shale development in Ohio, announced in November that its production would anchor a 1,980-kilometer (1,230-mile) pipeline from Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and northeastern Ohio to the Gulf Coast. The pipeline would have an initial capacity of 125,000 barrels per day of ethane, the company said in a news release.

The state’s steel industry also is reviving to produce pipes and equipment for oil and gas production, and transport. More than 400 workers in Youngstown are constructing a $US 650 million steel mill for Vallourec & Mannesmann Holdings, Inc. to produce half a million tons annually of seamless steel well tubing used in drilling and in developing natural gas wells. U.S. Steel spent $US 100 million to expand and upgrade its tubular steel mill in Lorain, Ohio, and Timken Company is spending $US 250 million on a similar project at its Canton mill in northeastern Ohio.

Evidence of the rapidly improving mood of this part of the Ohio River Valley is emerging daily. Hotels and motels are full. Winding down one of the country roads outside Wellsville reveals a shiny new Camaro in the driveway of a farmhouse — the only bright spot on a wet winter day.

“That Marcellus shale that’s coming around here, that’s making a lot of people around here instant millionaires,” said Rick Williams, a lifelong Wellsville resident who serves as the town’s zoning commissioner. “People are so glad to see this. I mean, we need something, that’s for sure, and between the Marcellus shale and this gas plant, I think the two will go good together.”

See more from Circle of Blue here.

— Keith Schneider, Codi Yeager