It’s not unusual for the Mahoning Valley’s congressmen to intercede on behalf of the steel and auto industries given their significance to the region’s economy. But when Reps. Tim Ryan of Niles, D-13th, and Bill Johnson of Marietta, R-6th, recently made a pitch for federal natural-gas export permits, it was a clear indication that they are sold on the hype about this area being on the threshold of an energy boom because of the Utica shale formation.
“We can either import oil or export gas,” said Ryan, a member of the powerful appropriations committee, during a visit last week to BP’s Ohio headquarters in North Jackson.
“America has an opportunity here to be the lead in natural-gas exports,” said Johnson, who also toured the headquarters. The Republicans control the House. “You’ve got other countries in other regions of the world that are already doing this.”