| The Columbus Dispatch
Report was wrong: Oil, gas industry
in Ohio is boon for jobs, energy costs
The Ohio River Valley Institute’s recent report attempting to discredit the many economic benefits that oil and natural gas drilling provide for our state missed the mark.
In reality, this industry has been a great benefit and integral component to Ohio’s economy and the entire Appalachian region. The natural gas and oil industry is responsible for nearly 205,000 jobs in Ohio, according to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. Shale-related employment—such as drilling and pipeline construction for example—has increased more than 90% since 2011, with annual wages averaging between $70,000 and $80,000, far higher than the state average.
Beyond the obvious benefits of job creation, the abundance of natural gas also has helped lower energy costs for Ohio families. A study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that natural gas prices for the average household were $429 lower in 2018 than in 2008. Furthermore, the average price of gasoline in 2008 was $4.10 per gallon, according to the Energy Information Administration. Last year, gasoline was $1.96 per gallon.
Think of what these savings mean, especially for average- and low-income Ohioans. The developments made by this industry over the past 10 years have created hundreds of thousands of jobs, lowered energy prices and made the United States more energy independent, so we are buying fuel from Ohioans and other Americans.
Ohio’s natural gas and oil industry is an integral part of this progress, and I am proud to support the hard-working Americans who provide us energy and fuel our way of life.
Tim Schaffer State Senator, 20th District
Staying vigilant, getting COVID-19
vaccine more important than ever
States are loosening public health measures (masking and social restrictions) at the wrong time, falsely reassured by decreasing numbers of COVID-19 cases and deaths. Yet these numbers should make us take pause.
For example, in March 2020, the average worldwide daily death rate from COVID-19 was around 400, versus nearly 6,000 today. In America, daily COVID-19 cases are nearly at the peak of the first surge (50,000 cases per day). Finally, less than 15% of the U.S. population has received the second dose of the vaccines. Therefore, the pandemic is far from over and herd immunity is not yet achieved.
Getting vaccinated stops the spread of the virus, protects against getting severe COVID-19 and decreases induction of viral variants. Viral variants result from the virus replicating in high numbers and in so doing acquiring mutations in its genetic profile, which confer a survival advantage to the virus and, in some cases, increase its virulence and transmission among people.
These viral variants can decrease vaccine efficacy, as exemplified by the South Africa variant. As a result, second-generation vaccines are being developed as a likely need to combat variant emergence, virulence and infectivity.
Breaking the cycle of spreading virus and emerging variants requires three things: adherence to public health measures, universal vaccination among both resource-rich and poor countries, and public education and consistent messaging. The latter is essential for addressing both vaccine hesitancy and impressing upon the public its central role in stopping the pandemic. The vaccines work only if you get them – and more than 515,000 deaths in America should serve as a reminder to do so.
Jeffery J. Auletta, M.D., Dublin
Death penalty is immoral killing;
Ohio should ban executions
Whether on a city street or in a Chillicothe prison, killing is wrong.
The public is right to be outraged over horrific acts that destroy the lives of our fellow citizens, neighbors and public servants. Families of murdered persons are often called co-victims, a label I now wear after the 1997 murder of my sister in Cleveland. We are justified in harboring feelings of rage over the killing of our loved ones.
Our sentiments are reactions to the calculated, unethical and immoral decision-making that drove other humans to engage in acts that ended the lives of our family and community members.
I also am a Christian who believes that whether a life-ending act occurs on a Cleveland street or in a Chillicothe prison authorized by the state, killing is wrong.
Jesus was once asked to authorize the execution of an adulterous woman. Interestingly, her male counterpart was not condemned, a sign of bias in the ethically bankrupt execution business. When Jesus told the woman’s all-male jurors that they could stone her only if they themselves were sinless, the non-sin-free jurors retreated.
Sparked by love and justice, Jesus disrupted an execution and redeemed a life destined to be discarded. People can change. Consider Moses, David, and Paul, biblical leaders with murder on their resumes. God transformed them into legendary faith leaders.
The cycle of calculated, unethical and immoral acts that lead to neighborhood homicides is not stopped by the state’s own calculated, unethical and immoral homicidal acts called executions. Instead, executions erode the state’s moral credibility. Let’s make Ohio the 24th state to abolish the death penalty.
Rev. Dr. Jack Sullivan, Jr., Canal Winchester
In bill to repeal death penalty,
murderers, not victims, are served
I have read story after story in the Dispatch recently about how the lives of murderers should be spared the death penalty at all costs. Politician after politician has been quoted extolling why these convicted murderers should not face justice. You are printing opinion polls saying Ohioans are against the death penalty.
Well, no one has asked me. No one has asked the victims’ families, the judges, the juries, the prosecutors. These are the people who heard the evidence and found these death-row murderers guilty. Certainly no one has asked the totally forgotten and discarded victims.
How dare the politicians who have been elected to uphold the law overlook the victims of crime and their families. It matters when a murderer is found guilty and given the death penalty. It matters that the victim’s life was valued and that the perpetrator will pay the ultimate price.
Sen. Steve Huffman (R-Tipp City) was quoted as saying “Human life is precious,” referring to his support for ending the death penalty. Apparently, murder victims’ lives are not precious to Huffman.
I hope the next story I read is that a recently proposed bill to end executions in Ohio has failed.
Sharon Sellitto, Granville
Heroic actions of veterinarian
shows worth of early vaccination
In the Feb. 14 letter, “Restaurant, retail workers unfairly bypassed on vaccine priority list,” the writer questioned why veterinarians might be given priority.
I know how: My friend, a veterinarian from New York City, told me about being a “first responder” on 9/11. She walked miles from home to the Twin Towers and looked for animals in need of care — strays, neighborhood occupants, support dogs, etc. She told me the animals were frightened, sometimes hiding, and covered with ashes.
I had not thought of their needs, but my friend did.
Karen Laub, Columbus