Everyone knows our region is a natural gas goldmine.
But translating that into easy accessibility and an energy bargain for local residents is not as easy as most people might think.
That much became obvious at a Center for Rural Pennsylvania discussion last week on natural gas resources hosted by state Sen. E. Eugene Yaw, a Loyalsock Township Republican, and Rep. Garth Everett, a Muncy Republican.
Sen. Yaw observed that 20 years ago people thought natural gas supplies would run dry and gas lines weren't being extended.
Now there is plenty of natural gas but an inadequate network of gas lines.
That's a shame, because if the supply is available, natural gas is among the cheapest forms of energy.
And there is a demand for it. UGI Utilities Inc. Vice President of Marketing Allen Westbrook testified at the meeting that of some 7,400 of the company's new residential heating customers last year, 80 percent switched from oil to natural gas. And those customers saw an average annual savings of $1,500.
That's not chump change.
To make the supply more accessible requires more gas lines, but putting a main gas line along a highway or tapping into a gathering line costs between $250,000 and $1 million.
Yaw suggested companies may need incentives to extend lines given those costs, but we can almost hear the screaming already from zealots who don't even want the natural gas companies here.
Of course, forgotten amid all the gnashing of teeth will be the potential energy savings natural gas can bring to consumers.
We can't have it both ways, complaining about the environmental nuisance and expense that oil brings with it as an energy source while stubbornly refusing to allow the cleaner, more efficient and cheaper natural gas industry to grow to its potential.