"Natural Gas Challenges Coal as King of the Energy Hill in Ohio"

"Entire villages in the eastern part of the state are leasing their land for gas drilling. What's a cash boon to some has others worrying about the future."

"BELLAIRE, Ohio -- The four miners who gathered one blustery morning at the United Mine Workers of America hall know that, so far, they are lucky.

Their coal mines along the West Virginia state line are still working, having survived a painful 30-year decline in the industry. But a new threat has pushed into Ohio, imperiling the primacy of coal here and all over the country. ...

For more than 200 years, coal has been king in Ohio, occupying a privileged position in state politics and as the fuel of choice for local power plants. Now its supremacy is being challenged. A natural gas rush that has hurtled through the country over the last five years has pushed its way into the coal fields of Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio. Entire villages in eastern Ohio are leasing their land for gas drilling, and huge energy companies that relied on coal to generate electricity are turning to natural gas.

Stoked by technological advances, the gas boom is transforming the United States and creating winners and losers on a national level and in far-flung small towns. From Texas to North Dakota to Pennsylvania, natural gas production has brought jobs and revenue. It has also driven up rents in small towns, torn up roads and led to lawsuits about control over energy development. And it has raised environmental and public health concerns."
 
Neela Banerjee reports for the Los Angeles Times March 2, 2013.

Monday, March 4, 2013