Changing Gears is a public media project about the future of the industrial Midwest. Each week, reporters Dan Bobkoff in Cleveland, Niala Boodhoo in Chicago and Kate Davidson in Ann Arbor cover issues of interest to the Great Lakes region. Changing Gears also sponsors public events and conversations.
Whose economy is better? The Chicago Sun-Times tries to settle a debate between Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. The two governors traded insults last week over which state is doing a better job of attracting businesses. The Sun-Times says Illinois is the winner on most points.
A “Mid-biennium Review” sounds like just about the least exciting thing in the world.
But Ohio governor John Kasich used his “Mid-biennium” budget talk yesterday for a ground-shaking announcement. Among a number of proposals unveiled, the governor announced new taxes for the many companies that are trying to extract natural gas and oil from Ohio shale.
If you haven’t heard by now, Ohio is sitting on an oil and gas bonanza. Up until a few years ago, no one could get at it, because it’s locked away in Ohio’s shale formations. But because of a new drilling procedure you’ve probably heard of called hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” all that gas and oil is now available.
As our own Dan Bobkoff reported in December, there is no shortage of hype about the possibilites for fracking in Ohio. The industry says it will create, or sustain 200,000 jobs. $200 billion could be invested over the next twenty years.
Lot o’ Lollapaloozas The Chicago Park District signed a new nine-year agreement with organizers of the Lollapalooza music festival, according to the Chicago Tribune. One park official says the deal will give the city a $1 billion boost over the next decade. But ticket prices for music fans will probably be going up.
Natural gas extracted from shale rock, some say, is the most positive development in the nation’s energy outlook in 50 years. Ohio sits atop some of the largest deposits.
Big name oil and gas companies are flocking to the Buckeye State in a frenzy of preparation for “fracking” – that’s the innovative and controversial technology used to drill through and “fracture” the shale. It un-traps natural gas that lies within large layers of rock.
Ohio John Kasich is one of the industry’s biggest cheerleaders, saying it could be a real “game changer” for the state’s economy. This week he also said tough, new regulations are needed to make sure “fracking” doesn’t harm the environment. From our Changing Gears project, Mhari Saito and Dan Bobkoff have this overview on the new “natural gas economy.”