YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) - Author and founder of the Center for Industrial Progress will address Valley business leaders Thursday about the need for fossil fuel technology and how the area is playing a vital role.
Alex Epstein is the author of The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels, which won him the McLaughlin Groups' Most Original Thinker award in 2014.
Epstein is a champion for the fossil fuel energy industry and points out that alternative forms such as solar and wind can be a supplement but in no way can replace fossil fuels.
"What we all need is abundant, reliable energy that is affordable to billions of people. It turns out that is a very hard thing to produce and the industries that are the worst at producing it are solar and wind," Epstein said.
Epstein said there is a lot of opportunity in the Valley and the area is emerging as a leader in the fossil fuel industry. But with gas and coal under attack by some ideologies such as the progressive Democrat "Green Deal," those opportunities could be in jeopardy.
The Green Deal would call for the cessation of nuclear and fossil fuel technologies, among other things.
"This is the technology that powers every other technology in our society, so it is not an option not to develop it," Epstein said.
Also addressing the Regional Chamber is Rhonda Reda with the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program. She says workforce development in the Valley is the focus right now, targeting in on the trades.
"We've got to do a lot more to promote the trades. Diesel mechanics today is basically a pre-engineering program," Reda said. "We need 2,000 welders right now, but we don't have 2,000 welders that are trained but we can get there."
According to a 2017 report from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Ohio's horizontal shale wells produced 3.9 million barrels of oil and 371 billion cubic feet of natural gas. Natural gas production from the first quarter of 2017 showed an increase over the first quarter of 2016, while oil production decreased for that time period.
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