It’s time for West Virginia to join the other states in our region that have transitioned to natural gas-fired powe… https://t.co/NNTvS4UAWJ
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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.
By Rusty Marks
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.”
It’s no secret what condition the state of West Virginia is in. State government faces a shortfall of nearly $500 million for next fiscal year.
West Virginia is the only state in the union that has a smaller population now than it did in 1950, while the number of residents continues to drop.
The unemployment rate for January 2017 was fifth highest in the United States.
The workforce participation rate — that is the number of working-age adults who are working or looking for work — is the lowest in the United States.
There’s no denying that West Virginia continues to face big challenges.
The Associated Press reported recently that unemployment rates rose in all 55 of West Virginia’s counties last month. Making ends meet is getting tougher for West Virginia families and communities.
In Charleston, the Legislature is focused on a number of these challenges, including our budget shortfalls and policies related to job growth — and West Virginia families are watching these efforts closely.
The good news is that we have real opportunities for positive and sustained growth, which can lift up every West Virginia family and community.
Recognizing when and how to make positive changes to regulations and laws that govern our activities is critical to the economic success of any state.
We need teamwork among individuals, businesses and government to ensure a fair and balanced environment in which we can all work. Like so many businesses throughout our state, we are constantly evolving to address the needs of our customers, neighbors and devoted teams of skilled local employees.
BRETT DUNLAP FOR THE INTELLIGENCER
CHARLESTON — Some of the state’s outdated laws and regulations need to be updated to allow the natural gas industry to grow and prosper in the Mountain State, said two industry officials.
Anne Blankenship, executive director of the West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association and Brett Loflin, vice president, regulatory affairs for Northeast Natural Energy and Independent Oil and Gas Association Board of Directors, spoke to the West Virginia Press Association’s Legislative Breakfast about the state of the natural gas industry in West Virginia on Thursday.
March 6, 2017
By: Rebecca McPhail, president, WV Manufacturers Association
Rebecca McPhail is president of the WVMA, a role she has held since 2013. She previously served as the president of Vision Shared as well as the assistant vice president of development at Marshall University, among other positions. She resides in Huntington.
Natural gas use across the United States has seen a dramatic increase in recent years. According to the 2017 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook, a report produced by the Business Council for Sustainable Energy and Bloomberg New Energy Finance, the U.S. has experienced a 79 percent surge in shale gas extraction since 2011 and a 12 percent jump in total gas production over the past five years. As the Factbook reports, “natural gas is now the number one source of power in the U.S., contributing 34 percent of the electricity mix in 2016, up from only 22 percent in 2007.”