Skip to content



By: Rob Brundrett, President, Ohio Oil & Gas Association and Charlie Burd, Executive Director, Gas & Oil Association of West Virginia

Appalachia, the country’s largest natural gas-producing region, is a core part of American energy security. The natural gas safely developed across Ohio and West Virginia has been central to the economic and environmental revival of our region, and now, we have the opportunity to do much more.

In fact, we can become the epicenter of America’s clean energy future — but the federal government needs to step up and allow us to do it. The Ohio River Valley’s unmatched energy abundance, combined with our manufacturing prowess and industrial ties, make the Basin a prime candidate to become a hydrogen and carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) hub.

Natural gas can create a low-carbon feedstock for hydrogen, and when marrying this process with carbon dioxide storage, there’s enormous opportunity to increase emission reduction benefits ten-fold. What’s more, hydrogen and CCS provide a viable decarbonization path for steel, cement, chemicals and other industrial activity that have been the fabric of our communities for generations. They are also industries for which there are no economical replacements for fossil fuels. Our existing infrastructure networks can be repurposed to safely transport CO2 or hydrogen to permanent storage locations and end-use sites.

But permitting delays in Washington are holding us back.

For example, an immense backlog of permit applications at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to safely and permanently store CO2 in disposal wells is preventing wider deployment of CCS. There are more than 40 such applications sitting with the agency, many of which date back to 2020. Not a single permit has been approved since the passage of the IRA.

The EPA has the authority to grant states primacy, which would allow state regulatory agencies to permit injection wells themselves — speeding up the process and relieving the EPA of some regulatory burdens. Wyoming and North Dakota already obtained this authority under the Trump administration, but other states including West Virginia have applied and are currently awaiting approval. Ohio is in the process of applying, yet will likely face similar delays since the Biden administration has not approved a single primacy application since taking office. Odd, given the administration’s 2022 U.S. Department of Energy announcement to invest $3.5 billion to capture and store CO2.

Meanwhile, the public strongly supports CCS. In fact, 79% of Americans support incentivizing businesses to develop carbon capture and storage technologies, according to a Pew Research study.

We’ve seen permitting delays and administrative roadblocks before. They affect our region more than most. The pipeline bans across the Northeast and regulatory hurdles to get natural gas to the Mid-Atlantic have only driven up energy costs for fellow American families while also stifling Appalachian businesses that are a critical part of the energy supply chain. Unnecessary energy cost increases hurt hard working Americans.

Ironically, that same type of bureaucratic red tape is now stunting the very clean energy goals that our elected leaders claim to support.

Remember, the Ohio River Valley is a region that knows a thing or two about using innovation and technology to deliver clean, affordable energy. Producing about a third of America’s total natural gas production, our region’s plentiful energy reserves have provided families and businesses with high-paying jobs and countless economic opportunities over the past decade.

At the same time, no energy source has done more to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across industries than natural gas. In fact, data shows that even as Appalachia’s production increased between 2018-2020, greenhouse gas emissions declined by 20%.

When it comes to energy innovation, Appalachia is second to none. Moreover, the federal Inflation Reduction Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law created an environment ripe with incentives for investments in clean energy technologies like hydrogen and CCS ­– and one that businesses across the tri-state area are eager to invest in.

The White House recently urged the industry to speed up their low-carbon efforts and “grab the baton and run” in advancing clean energy goals. We’re trying — but an unfavorable regulatory environment is obstructing the process. Please, give us the baton then stand back and see how fast we can run.

Appalachia’s natural gas industry has a proven track record of producing clean and affordable energy that strengthens not just our region, but the country as a whole.

We’re ready to do more.

But federal officials need to act with the same urgency pressed upon the industry. By doing so, we’ll unlock a new economic engine, moving our region and nation forward in the process.

Powered By GrowthZone
Scroll To Top