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The Boom of 2011

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Unless you have been living a cut-off-from-society lifestyle, you will have probably noticed all the energy proliferating about the county in regards to the next “boom”. That boom being the Marcellus Shale Gas Rush taking place within our County. Just on the surface, one can easily re-envision the 1889 Oil boom that took place within our county, bringing in hordes of educational, business and financial opportunities. Then within a blink of an eye, it was over, leaving behind a bare bones population, abandoned infrastructure and the future looking bleak.

Shortly afterwards, coal became the lord of the realm, and this was coal country. Jobs were available, and money poured back into the local economies. Life again seemed promising in Harrison County Ohio, as people now had more choices when it came to shopping, and visiting local businesses, and the local festival hosted by the coal industry was something everyone looked forward to year after year.

But soon, life took a familiar turn in our county. Tighter regulations, and over bearing foreign competition in pricing, once again left our county barren and folks unemployed. And the general attitude is just survival, and getting through day to day.

But lo and behold, we are back on the map again, with a re-energized resource. Natural Gas, on an epic scale. With the outside world flooding in, buying up all the land that has sat for years, and leasing vast tracts of acreage from local inhabitants, it suddenly appears that there is still that spark of life here.

One is almost hard pressed to find someone who has acreage who has _not_ leased some of their land to one of the many gas companies that have camped here. Talk is good, folks are smiling,  and many who were wondering how they were going to make their car payment, suddenly find themselves with an excess of spendable cash.

Generically, this is great. Business will thrive, living conditions will improve, and perhaps with the influx of capital, new businesses will appear, as well as vast improvements in our infrastructure.

But with this comes a price.

I find myself at the edge of almost feeling a sense of relief for the folks in our county, but also a severe sense of dread.

  • What is going to happen to our water supply?
  • Is our law enforcement ready for the task of the mass influx of temporary (Which could become permanent) migration coming into the county? (With booms come criminal elements)
  • Our infrastructure is already strained, and border line impossible to maintain. How will our roads stay usable with heavy trucks increasing 500% on roads not designed for such constant strain?

With a landscape already mostly reclaimed from decades of mining, what is to become of our county after this? One of our most beloved traits is our landscape. Our lakes, and our deep green forests etc. With an improvement in financial well being, the increase of population, the demand for more amenities and access to more recreation, our status quo will surely change. For better or worse, that is surely left to personal opinion.

I feel  a sense of dread, as if I feel that my county is about to be used, abused and left to the way side once more. There is no stopping what is taking place. And the word on the street is to accept it and capitalize on the possibilities. I just hope that we, as citizens of our County can stick together to ensure that we are not taken for a ride.  Personally I do not know, how dumping 500+ Carcinogenic chemicals into the ground does not effect our water tables, and water supply in general. Perhaps I lack that savvy. With tense reluctance I watch the new era of Harrison County unfolding.

Obviously this is a personal, rambling piece, patched together over concerns about the new boom taking place here in our county. I would love to hear input from our readers in regards to their concerns, opinions and even hope for the future. This is an issue that can not be taken lightly, and if we are to have some control of our destiny, then the county as a whole needs to be involved.

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Larry Bertolino

Larry Bertolino

Owner at myLocalPCpro
Larry Bertolino is a 31 year old, U.S Navy Veteran and currently sitting on the board of Directors for the Harrison County Chamber of Commerce, as well as Harrison County Rural Transit.
Larry Bertolino
Larry Bertolino

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Posted by on March 5, 2011, 8:23 am. Filed under Editorial. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry