USDA Secretary: Opportunity For Rural Ohioans In Renewable Energy

By
Steffany Hiett

Dateline
Updated Thu, Feb 2, 2012 11:44 am

United States Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says President Barack Obama's priority to find renewable energy resources means opportunity for rural Ohioans.

Obama discussed a need for alternative energy sources designed and produced by American workers in his State of the Union address Tuesday.
 
Vilsack says for Southeast Ohio farmers, that could mean advances in the use of biomass fuels. "Well, our key, I think, is to try to create opportunity. We want to work with farmers and ranchers to make them as efficient as possible in terms of how they use their energy by using our program, which has helped farmers embrace renewable energy systems," said Vilsack.
 
Vilsack says the region's natural gas-rich shale fields also offer a possibility for energy, but the controversial process of removing the fuel through hydraulic fracturing doesn't have to be a two-sided argument. "I think we can be environmentally sensitive and at the same time utilize the natural gas resources that are domestically located here and that we can rely on our own capacities and capabilities within the United States. That's the challenge the President has laid out," said Vilsack.
 
Vilsack says the USDA is hoping to lead the way in creating a safe and responsible way of gathering oil and natural resources in rural America.
 
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