PIKE COUNTY/FLOYD COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - Problems plaguing the coal industry are weighing heavily on the minds of many Eastern Kentuckians, but officials in Pike and Floyd Counties say other natural fuels, like natural gas, are helping boost economies.
"We have 6,500 plus wells in the county. We have three transmission lines in the county that carry our natural gas north and south," said Pike County Judge Executive Wayne T. Rutherford.
Kentucky Oil and Gas Association President Doug Hyden says the oil and gas industry employs nearly 31,000 people across the commonwealth and produced nearly $630 million in revenue last year. He says nearly one third of that came from Pike and Floyd Counties.
"Kentucky is primarily a coal state and the oil and gas business is kind of quiet. We're in the background," said Hyden.
Officials say in a state that is known for coal production many people do not realize what natural gas production can mean for local economies.
"People don't realize how much impact we do have on the state economically through severance tax and employment," said Hyden.
They hope the oil and gas industry continues to boom in Eastern Kentucky.
"We are blessed as a people to live in this area," said Judge Rutherford.
KOGA officials say there are more than 19,000 gas wells across the commonwealth.