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State Journal

A small country that is economically dependent on a single export commodity, such as bananas. That is how Free Dictionary defines banana republic. West Virginia doesn’t have any bananas, but we come close to that definition.

For decades we exported coal and timber, but we also had a booming chemical industry and a glass industry. With coal on the decline, our glass and steel industry almost gone and many of our chemical plants closed, natural gas may be our next big export item. But do we want natural gas to become West Virginia’s bananas?



Charleston, W.Va.
– Nearly 1,000 West Virginia oil and gas workers and advocates gathered on the state Capitol steps Tuesday morning to rally in support of the tens of thousands of hard-working men and women who contribute to the state’s oil and gas economy.

Busloads of workers from across the state joined with industry leaders and a bipartisan coalition of elected officials to raise a collective voice of support for an industry that can fuel the state’s future. They called on lawmakers to act quickly in enacting critical policies that generate more local job creation and that spur needed economic development.

“We hear the message you are relaying to us today,” said West Virginia House Speaker Tim Armstead, R-Kanawha, who joined Senate President Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson, to praise the work of industry employees.

“This is an important issue not only for West Virginia but for the world,” Carmichael told cheering workers who filled the south steps of the Capitol.

By Rusty Marks
State Journal

Several hundred oil and gas industry executives, workers and supporters met in Charleston on Tuesday, March 21, for a rally on the steps of the state Capitol.

“The work that you do should be celebrated,” said Maribeth Anderson, president of the West Virginia Oil & Natural Gas Association. Anderson said the myth that most of the people who work in the state’s oil and gas industry don’t live in the state is just not true, and members in the crowd shouted out their home counties to prove it.

Both state Senate President Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson, and House Speaker Tim Armstead, R-Kanawha, addressed the crowd, telling those in attendance the Legislature was doing what it could to help the industry.

“You’re benefiting the people of the world,” Carmichael said. “We need to do more to help you do your job (in employing West Virginians and helping the state economy). We stand with you to make the changes in the policy and the law to help the industry.”