Almost all of us have learned through "life lessons" the axioms of intelligent design versus organic growth. You may have learned about conservation in your youth with stories of the American Buffalo hunted to near extinction. The free-market wanted buffalo-hides and was willing to pay for these hides. Buffalo hides were in great demand. There was also a lot of valuable land in the West, which was home to the American Buffalo and Native Americans. The Buffalo sustained Native Americans. Eliminate the Buffalo, and you strike a strategic blow to Native Americans intent on keeping their land.

As a consequence of valuable land and the want of buffalo hides, the Buffalo were hunted to near extinction. As the supply of Buffalo shrank, the demand for hides did not. So the price of buffalo hides exploded.

The Buffalo hide market was organically grown and not a market built on intelligent design and regulation. Organically grown markets have their strengths but do not typically apply well to natural resources. Conservation (a smart design tool) can benefit by either not depleting a resource or making the most of a resource. The strategic development of a resource is always through its intelligent utilization.

When Ohio and Pennsylvania suddenly realized it had a new untapped resource, it did not look to Texas, to the pitfalls it went through during its oil boom. Texas's oil boom was very much akin to people going out and slaughtering the Buffalo into extinction. No strategic development of its resources, no conservation. After many court battles and economic pain, the now much smarter Texas Oilmen went to the State government and convinced legislators to integrate energy development under the Texas Railroad Commission. The Texas Railroad Commission helps to ensure that Texans benefit as much as possible from Texas resources. They help ensure that resources are not left stranded or orphaned and limit production to maintain price.

When the Marcellus shale play was discovered, it was off to the races, just like the Texas oil boom. The consequences of the free-for-all are quite evident. We had a natural gas boom in Ohio where drillers and pipeline contractors rushed in. And when the market became satiated with natural gas wells, the price of natural gas fell dramatically. The boom then became a bust. When the price of natural gas fell, it put the smaller operators out of business, and the industry went through a consolidation phase. The consolidation phase is where big natural gas developers swallowed up small developers. Because the wells' profit margins fell so dramatically and so fast, there are very few wells in the Marcellus shale formation built with the added cost of wellhead freeze-off protection. Currently, Ohio has stranded a tremendous amount of its natural gas resources due to its assets' no strategic development. This problem is only growing and multiplying. Our legislators do not understand the problem, do not adequately understand free-market principles or intelligent design, and have not been good stewards of our resources.

Like the growing pains that Texas went through during its Oil Boom, Ohio very predictably experienced similar pains.

My solution is to make the USDOE a resource to help States form Engineering Commissions to develop natural resources that provide energy strategically. Congress should create disincentives for States that do not form engineering commissions.

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