May 24, 2020

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

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

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 …

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 …

In New York Times, Cincinnati’s Riverfront Revival

CINCINNATI – The shoreline of this Ohio River city, which thrived in the 19th century with 30 steamboat visits a day and then died in the 20th as pollution and industrial disinvestment pushed people and businesses inland, is emerging again as a new hub of civic and economic vitality. The New York Times published my article on Cincinnati’s riverfront development, more evidence of the Ohio River Valley’s new upward economic vector. The Times piece is …

The U.S. Energy Boom and Ohio in The New York Times

My interest in the Ohio River Valley, as readers of ModeShift well know, is keen. Today, the New York Times published my latest piece about the billions being invested in mineral leasing for oil and gas drilling. Tomorrow, in the NYT Business section, is another piece I did on Cincinnati’s improved economy and surging riverfront development. You may recall this article on Owensboro Kentucky’s improved prospects for the NYT late last year. I did this …

Ohio’s Fossil Fuel Boom Dims Wind and Solar Development

The story of American energy used to be we use too much. There’s not enough. And a technical breakthrough in clean alternatives will save us. How 20th century. The new narrative – really, it’s true — of American energy is this: We’re using less. A national boom in oil and gas production, engulfing 12 states from California to Pennsylvania and North Dakota to Texas, is showing we have much more than we thought. And the …

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

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 …

In Louisville, Covid-19 Slows Portland Neighborhood Recovery

LOUSVILLE, Ky. — Until the Covid-19 pandemic, Gill Holland spent six years and $35 million constructing new residences and renovating 19thand 20thcentury wood and brick warehouses in Portland, an historic Ohio riverfront neighborhood that is Louisville’s oldest and one of its most impoverished.  Mr. Holland’s Portland Investment Initiative has purchased over 60 properties and filled them with businesses and residents new to the racially diverse neighborhood, where roughly 10,000 people live.  The project has renovated …

AppHarvest’s Big Idea: Bringing Food Production Indoor At A Mammoth Kentucky Greenhouse

MOREHEAD, Ky. – Almost 70 percent of American consumers, including those who love fresh tomatoes, are a day’s drive from eastern Kentucky. That proximity to big markets is the primary reason AppHarvest is building the largest greenhouse in the United States in a big field in Rowan County just outside this university town. Sometime next summer, when production commences, the $97 million, 60-acre building will begin shipping 45 million pounds of fresh produce annually, primarily …

Confrontation of The Century – Gas vs. Renewables

MORGANTOWN, W. Va. — Last September California affirmed its commitment to supply all of the state’s annual demand for electricity with renewable sources of energy by 2045. New Mexico enacted similar 100 percent renewable legislation. This month Minnesota pledged to be the third U.S. state to achieve 100 percent renewable electrical generation, committing to do so by 2050. The three states are joined by nine other states considering the 100 percent commitment, and 100 American …