Warren Tribune Chronicle: V&M encourages senator

March 28, 2011 | Portman Difference
U.S. Sen. Rob Portman said he's encouraged by V&M Star's $650 million construction project and sees it as a ''great jumping-off point'' to bolster other economic development in industry surrounding oil and natural gas drilling.

''There is an opportunity for Ohio to create more jobs and opportunities through this natural gas find that has really revolutionized our energy arena over the past four or five years,'' the Republican said.

Portman, a Republican, said the Youngstown-area needs to seize on opportunities for continued economic growth presented by the Marcellus and Utica underground natural gas formations, in terms of supply chain and customer business.

He visited V&M Star on Friday, saying afterward he's thrilled the steel pipemakers new project and tremendous economic boost it will bring to the area.

''It's great for the jobs here in the Mahoning Valley and also great for the country's energy security, our national security, because it enables us to be less dependent on foreign sources of energy,'' Portman said.

Also, what's needed is an environment federally to fully take advantage of the natural gas deposits and no over-burdensome rules that prevent exploration, drilling or use of natural gas. In addition, rules overseeing carbon dioxide emissions need to be such as to not stifle job growth, he said.

Before visiting V&M, Portman met with Youngstown Mayor Jay Williams to talk challenges and opportunities facing Youngstown and what's being done creatively to deal with local, state and national budget problems, ''do more with less and continue to make progress in the Mahoning Valley,'' he said.

''This is an area that has been hard hit,'' he said. ''Look at what happened here since the 1980s - so many jobs have been lost and yet people haven't lost hope.''

Portman also toured Youngstown State University, saying he's looking forward to help the school by ''encouraging even more interaction between the business community and university because there are so many opportunities for them to work together.''