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Ohio Shale Summit: Getting it Right

John HofmeisterAn audience of 600 people at the Landerhaven event heard industry promoters; business groups, environmental groups, researchers and local government officials discuss the impacts of current and future of oil and gas production in the Utica Shale region of eastern Ohio. Among the comments from speakers:

  • Ohio could be sitting on the biggest energy reserves in the country
  • Dry gas and liquids here are a “50 to 100 year resource.”
  • 20 companies have leased mineral rights on 4-million acres so far.
  • Maximum production is still at least “two years away.”
  • Sales tax revenue in “shale rich” counties increased 15% year-to-year compared to 6.8% increase in the rest of Ohio.
  • Stark County’s unemployment rate has dropped from 10.9% to 6.4% since January 2011 and “most of that can be attributed to oil and gas.”

John HofmeisterSeveral speakers also commented on environmental and community challenges from shale development:

  • Industry has to “come to grips with water management…with transparency…and challenge each other on real information” – John Hofmeister, former President of Shell Oil
  • Rural communities need help from the state now to develop housing, human resources and infrastructure to take advantage of the shale boom – Dorothy Skowrunski, Executive Driector Coshocton County Port Authority
  • What worries us most is the potential for “permanent damage” from” haphazard construction” of roads, pipelines, processing facilities and water treatment facilities.”- Rich Cochran, President of Western Reserve Land Conservancy

And there were appeals for diverse stakeholders to seek more collaboration and points of agreement.

  • If these oilfields become battlefields, “pitting the ‘fractivists’ against the ‘frackers’… we will all lose.” – Rich Cochran, President of Western Reserve Land Conservancy

Opening Remarks and Keynote Speaker: John Hofmeister, “Don’t Ruin it for Everybody”

John HofmeisterJohn Hofmeister, upon retirement from Shell Oil Company in 2008, founded and heads the not-for-profit (501(c)(3)), nation-wide membership association, Citizens for Affordable Energy. This Washington, D.C.-registered, public policy education firm promotes sound U.S. energy security solutions for the nation, including a range of affordable energy supplies, efficiency improvements, essential infrastructure, sustainable environmental policies and public education on energy issues.

Hofmeister was named President of Houston-based Shell Oil Company in March 2005, heading the U.S. Country Leadership Team, which included the leaders of all Shell businesses operating in the United States. He became President after serving as Group Human Resource Director of the Shell Group, based in The Hague, The Netherlands.

As Shell President, Hofmeister launched an extensive outreach program, unprecedented in the energy industry, to discuss critical global energy challenges. The program included an 18 month, 50-city tour across the country during which Hofmeister led 250 other Shell leaders to meet with more than 15,000 business, community and civic leaders, policymakers, and academics to discuss what must be done to ensure affordable, available energy for the future.

A business leader who has participated in the inner workings of multiple industries for over 35 years, Hofmeister also has held key leadership positions in General Electric, Nortel and AlliedSignal (now Honeywell International).

Hofmeister serves as the Chairman of the National Urban League and is a member of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technical Advisory Committee, and the Sodexo Business Advisory Board. He also serves on the boards of the Foreign Policy Association, Strategic Partners, LLC, the Gas Technology Institute and the Center for Houston’s Future. Hofmeister is a Fellow of the National Academy of Human Resources. He also is a past Chairman and serves as a Director of the Greater Houston Partnership.

Hofmeister earned Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Political Science from Kansas State University.

John Hofmeister is also the author of “Why We Hate the Oil Companies: Straight Talk from an energy insider.”

“The Utica Shale Now”

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“Community Leader Briefing”

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Keynote Speaker: Rich Cochran, “Land Conservation as an Economic Development Tool”

Rich CochranIn 1996, Rich Cochran started working in the local conservation field as the lone employee of what is now Western Reserve Land Conservancy. Today, Cochran heads the state’s largest land conservancy as president and chief executive officer of the nonprofit Land Conservancy, which has permanently preserved more than 30,000 acres in northern Ohio.

The organization, which is headquartered in Moreland Hills and has field offices in Akron, Cleveland, Medina, Orwell, Oberlin, Painesville and Orrville, has 35 employees and is guided by a 33-member Board of Trustees. The Land Conservancy helps preserve farmland, natural areas and healthy economies in a 14-county region and, through its Thriving Communities Institute, is working to revitalize urban neighborhoods throughout the state.

In 2006, Cochran presided over the creation of the Land Conservancy, which was formed when eight local land trusts joined forces in the largest merger of its type in the United States. Prior to the merger, Cochran worked at Chagrin River Land Conservancy, one of the merging organizations, where he served as CRLC’s first and only executive director for nearly 10 years. Before he committed his career to conservation work, Cochran was Director of Development at Case Western Reserve School of Law and worked in the development office at University of Vermont. In all of these roles, Cochran has developed expertise in fundraising, real estate transactions, corporate planning and management and financial reporting.

Cochran was the recipient of the 2010 Conservation Award from the Cleveland Museum of Natural History’s Board of Trustees. At the award ceremony, Judith McMillan, co-chair of the board’s Awards Committee, described Cochran as “literally a legend in the area of land preservation” and praised the Land Conservancy’s collaboration with the Museum to protect key natural areas in the region.

Cochran has also made numerous presentations at National Land Conservation Conferences hosted by the Land Trust Alliance. He is a graduate of Middlebury College and did graduate work at the University of Vermont School of Natural Resources. Cochran has also participated in Leadership Cleveland and Young Presidents Organization, Cleveland Chapter. He lives in Shaker Heights.

Shale Impact on Northeast Ohio Business

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