As production in the Kentucky coal industry declined, the production of natural gas has boomed in the state. Local economies on the eastern side of the state benefited from an increase in natural gas exploration. According to the Middlesboro Daily News, Kentucky currently has 19,300 active gas wells and ranked 18 in the country for natural gas production in 2012.
Pike county, in eastern Kentucky, was one of the most high-producing areas for natural gas last year. CBS affiliate WYMT reported that Pike county alone more than 6,500 natural gas wells, as well as three transmission lines carrying gas to the north and south. Wayne Rutherford, Pike county's judge executive, said that nearly one-third of the $630 million revenue from oil and gas production in Kentucky for 2012 came from Pike and neighboring Floyd county.
Eastern Kentucky has the potential to bring an influx to the production of natural gas in the state. Kentucky Oil and Gas president, Doug Hyden, said, “people don't realize how much impact we do have on the state economically through severance tax and employment.”