Archived Story

Extracting opportunity for Appalachian Ohio

Published 12:14am Sunday, December 9, 2012

The extraction of Appalachian Ohio’s natural resources has helped create wealth and prosperity in many parts of our state and nation, yet the region itself has continued to struggle with persistent poverty.

Now, new technologies for accessing oil and gas from shale are placing the region at the center of another energy boom.

As we rise to the challenge of providing the resources needed to power our country, we must also rise to the unprecedented opportunity to extract prosperity and lasting wealth for our region’s citizens and communities.

We can learn a great deal about today’s opportunity from the region’s past.

Many Appalachian Ohio communities were created by natural resource extraction. The mining of coal, iron ore and clay produced jobs, attracted people to settle in the region. During these early energy booms, our communities were emerging.

They had not yet developed charitable foundations or economic development organizations to retain a portion of the income flowing through their communities for reinvestment in the communities’ wellbeing. When the income produced by extraction began to dry up, communities lacked resources to prepare for a new future.

Appalachian Ohio’s experience with shale development can be dramatically different.

Our region is now home to strong philanthropic, economic development, educational, and social service organizations. These organizations are well-positioned to retain and reinvest shale development wealth.

Further, there are many examples of regions across the United States that have leveraged extractive industry resources to create sustained prosperity for their citizens and communities.

While we are already experiencing success in building lasting resources from shale wealth, much more can be done.

We at the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio believe it is within our collective potential to leverage shale development resources to fundamentally transform the region’s quality of life, not just for today but for generations to come.

While we don’t have all of the answers, we understand success will require vision, strategy, and collaboration. It is time to start serious discussions regarding how the region can benefit long-term from today’s energy boom.

Over the coming months, the foundation will gather and share ideas on this topic, to culminate in a public discussion regarding what we learn. Please send your ideas and suggestions to


Cara Dingus Brook is the President and CEO of the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio, a regional community foundation partnering with donors to enrich the current and future quality of life for the 32 counties of Appalachian Ohio.



The Tribune believes it is possible for people with a variety of points of view to discuss issues in a civil manner and will remove comments that, in our opinion, foster incivility. We want to encourage an open exchange of information and ideas. Responsibility for what is posted or contributed to this site is the sole responsibility of each user. By contributing to this website, you agree not to post any defamatory, abusive, harassing, obscene, sexual, threatening or illegal material, or any other material that infringes on the ability of others to enjoy this site, or that infringes on the rights of others. Any user who feels that a contribution to this website is a violation of these terms of use is encouraged to email, or click the "report comment" link that is on all comments. We reserve the right to remove messages that violate these terms of use and we will make every effort to do so — within a reasonable time frame — if we determine that removal is necessary.

  • mikehaney

    drill baby drill!!

    (Report comment)

  • mickakers

    Poor Richard; Your comment pertaining to the article “Coal Industry Must Consider Community Health”, was also on the money.

    (Report comment)

  • mickakers

    Poor Richard; A perceptive comment. My compliments.

    (Report comment)

  • Poor Richard

    The iron furnace industry certainly left a lasting legacy – cutting nearly every single tree in the county to make charcoal. Sure it had to end, there were not any trees left for them to use! This left Lawrence County eroded and barren. Farmers left their land and moved on. This was one reason the Wayne National Forest was created – to help heal the land devasted from the iron industry.

    The coal industry has left a similiar legacy to southern Ohio in unreclaimed mine lands and acid mine drainage that continues to damage our fresh water supplies even today. The land is still scarred from coal companies legacy and the forests of long ago will NEVER recoup from that devastation.

    Oh, and today, the resource companies want us all to believe they have our best interest at heart when in reality, it is about profit for them, like everything in our culture today, it is about greed and profit. The frackers are running all over Ohio trying to secure land for their drilling. Most citizens that have signed up for fracking are devastated when they find out that a mini industrial plant is operating in their backyard 24 hours a day and sucking their streams dry, and damaging their land and roads with large equipment and trucks.

    Here’s some advice I’ll give citizens from someone who has actually worked for resource companies – DO NOT believe anything they tell you and if you are even considering signing on with them, you best get an attorney to draw up the agreement while also considering the liabilities to your neighbors. And if you really want to know what you are in for, contact the many organizations and citizens in the state that have a real handle on these resource companies and their exploitations of Ohio citizens.

    There is NO AMOUNT of money worth having the resource companies on my property! Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Foundation for Appalachian Ohio.

    (Report comment)

Editor's Picks