Adams County Commissioner Ty Pell testified before state lawmakers last week in support of House Bill 685, which would assist with energy infrastructure in Ohio. The legislation would create ENERGIZEOhio Zones with priority investment areas, specifically counties or communities where economic growth is negatively impacted because of no or inadequate natural gas infrastructure. Vowing to ‘sprint to the finish’, Pell said that he has always been committed to this project and wanted to be there to lobby state lawmakers for Adams County. Pell leaves office at the end of the month.
In his testimony, Pell said that in the 1960s, when Governor Rhodes created the State Route 32 corridor, it was meant for development. But Pell told the state panel that the county’s lack of natural gas has hindered the ability of local officials to recruit commerce to the county. “House Bill 685 is monumental for Adams County,” said Pell. “When you look at a gas map, most of Adams County is unserved. We are in a gas desert.” “We have a small gas line that comes up [US Route] 52 and into the former power plants and then comes to West Union, but is nothing that can support the manufacturing industry,” said Pell. “The northern portion of the county is completely void of gas.”
If passed by the Ohio General Assembly, the legislation would create a new Pipeline Easement Revolving Fund to allow eligible communities to leverage $50 Million in state funds for the infrastructure.
The bill is currently being heard in the House Energy and Natural Resources Committee chaired by Representative Jason Stephens from Lawrence County. The bill is not expected to pass this year, however, it will likely be introduced in the new General Assembly in January.