House lawmakers from the Mahoning Valley agree the nation needs to become more energy independent, and tapping into the rich, domestic natural gas and oil resource is one way to go.
But where U.S. Reps. Bill Johnson, a Republican, and Democrat Timothy J. Ryan disagree are on tax incentives, like the one President Barack Obama promoted last month in Las Vegas - a plan that would provide incentives to companies that purchase natural gas-powered trucks.
''The private sector needs for the federal government to get out of the way,'' said Johnson, R-Marietta.
Government needs to step aside and let the private sector find advantages to minimize cost, but he would like to see some regulatory and tax reform to assure business ''that the federal government will not come along and pull the rug out from them.''
Simplifying and reducing the tax burden will let business keep more of the earnings to re-invest to reduce costs and increase profits, Johnson said.
Quite the opposite for Ryan, D-Niles, who says there is a small, targeted role for the government to help stimulate the new industry. He wants to see incentives, like Obama's and beyond, including breaks for companies, school districts and transit systems that retrofit their vehicles with natural gas engines.
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''There should not be a regional bus in the country not in the process of being converted over to natural gas,'' Ryan said.
Ryan also sees opportunity for public / private partnerships in the research and development in areas like new techniques for handling wastewater created in the hydraulic fracturing process.
Obama in last month's State of the Union address called for an ''all-out, all-of-the-above,'' energy strategy that develops ''every available source'' of American energy. That includes natural gas.
''We have a supply of natural gas that can last America nearly 100 years, and my administration will take every possible action to safely develop this energy,'' the president said.
Days after the Jan. 24 address to the nation, Obama was in Las Vegas, where he called the U.S. the ''Saudi Arabia of natural gas'' and began furthering his push of using domestic gas resources.
But Johnson said Obama's policy and regulatory actions are the opposite, ''the proof of that is the rejection of the Keystone (XL) Pipeline.''
Approval of the project, Johnson said, would have moved the U.S. closer to energy independence and been a big job creator.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, too, would like to see action to reduce what he calls a ''dangerous and unsustainable dependence on foreign oil.''
He supported the Clean Energy Jobs and Oil Accountability Act in 2010, a bill that would have reduced dependence on foreign oil by investing in vehicles that run on natural gas and electricity.
The proposed Keystone pipeline would carry Canadian oil produced from tar sands to refineries along the Texas Gulf coast.
Brown, Johnson and Ryan agree the potential of natural gas to be a significant economic driver is huge in terms of direct and indirect jobs, but the industry must be developed safely.
Johnson said implementation of regulation to protect the public's safety and welfare must be ''based on fact, not around fear,'' or political convenience or rhetoric.
Ryan said ''the opportunities are great for a clean source of American energy that just happens to be right below our feet right here in Ohio. Thoughtful and mature development of this energy can have a transformational effect on our economy and quite frankly, the economy of our country.''