Hundreds were at Barnesville High School on Saturday for the National Association of Royalty Owners, or NARO, conference.
The day-long event provided support and information for people who work or own land in the oil and gas industry.
“You can’t go anywhere in the world today and talk about energy and talk about oil and gas that you don’t see a map of Eastern and Southeastern Ohio on the wall,” Ohio Congressman Bill Johnson said.
Oil and gas in the Ohio Valley is the resource that helps many put a roof over their head and food on the table.
But times have been hard in the industry in the past few years.
“No one has a crystal ball, but I am still optimistic long term about the future in Eastern Ohio when it comes to energy production,” Ohio Senator Lou Gentile said.
Legislation in Washington has caused coal mines to fold and miners to lose their jobs.
“I’d just like to see a lot of our coal miners get back to work there has been a lot of lay off lately,” Ohio State Representative Jeff Thompson said.
The general public is just asking for money and jobs to come back into the region.
“This is a resource that belongs to the people here,” Johnson said. The elected officials and the people making policy decisions they need to understand that.”
One of the biggest game changers for the industry, the Ethane Cracker plant, which promises to bring thousands of construction jobs and hundreds of permanent ones.
“In Belmont County, the announcement that the ethane cracker is coming, I’m in meetings with the company that is looking at that as well as other local officials, Gentile said. “We want to be helpful we want to prepare our workforce and our local communities.”
Other speakers at the event included county auditors, NARO Appalachia President and representatives from Bricker and Eckler.