Consumer majority believe shale gas brings opportunity

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The majority of consumers living in shale gas exploration areas from West Virginia to Michigan believe the shale industry will mean economic opportunity for those areas, according to Echo research commissioned by Huntington Bank.

Although nearly 60 percent of consumers see the economic benefit of shale gas, approximately 40 percent do not see the possibility of economic growth created by the new energy industry, the research also reveals.

When broken down by state, the three areas with the most exploration showed similar results with the majority of respondents favoring the new industry.

In Western Pennsylvania, 79 percent of respondents said the new industry would bring opportunity to the area while 21 percent saw no local economic growth from the new industry. In Ohio, 58 percent of respondents agreed that the industry would bring opportunity with 42 percent seeing no possibility of economic opportunity. In West Virginia, 75 percent of respondents believe in the opportunities of the new industry, but 25 percent did not see economic impact.

Shale industry growth in these areas includes a new Shell petrochemical plant in Western Pennsylvania. Midwestern growth tied to Utica and Marcellus shale and other natural gas production is expected to skyrocket over the next 25 years. Analysts are predicting hundreds of thousands of jobs to be created by the industry over the next 10 years.

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