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Hoppy's Commentary | January 03, 2017 at 12:18AM

West Virginia is sitting on top of nearly unimaginable amounts of natural gas. The Energy Information Administration estimates the state’s shale gas reserves exceed 28 trillion cubic feet. Yet, we have not yet been able to take full advantage of this energy windfall.

One reason is huge gas reserves are being discovered elsewhere, and hydraulic fracturing means those reserves that were once unreachable can now be tapped.  The oversupply drives down prices and serves as a disincentive for drillers.

Another reason is that our infrastructure has not caught up with the enormous supplies, which is why the Atlantic Coast Pipeline is so critical.

The proposed pipeline, which would run 600 miles from Harrison County southeast through the state, across Virginia and into North Carolina, will supply natural gas to utilities for power generation.  The project by Dominion Transportation Inc. would provide a significant new market for West Virginia natural gas.

Naturally, there are concerns about the pipeline–some property owners don’t want the pipeline on or near their land—but much of the opposition is from the environmental community which objects to fracking and carbon fuels.

Environmentalists have raised myriad concerns about the potential impact on groundwater, forests, recreational areas, historic sites, and sensitive species, to name a few.  They also argue there is no economic benefit to impacted communities.

Don’t let pipeline opponents hamper our energy sources

Until a few years ago, most Americans weren’t used to hearing about oil and natural gas pipelines on the nightly news. But then came the Keystone XL Pipeline, which the president disallowed. More recently, the Dakota Access Pipeline is big with the media.

WHEELING — Increases in oil and natural gas production continue providing more property tax revenue for Northern Panhandle counties, with Wetzel County scheduled to collect more than $24 million from the industry during tax year 2016.

Overall, West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association Executive Director Anne Blankenship said producers such as Southwestern Energy Co., Antero Resources, Chevron, Statoil, Stone Energy, Noble Energy, Consol Energy, and others across the Mountain State are on pace to pay more than $134 million in property taxes for 2016.

Charleston Gazette-Mail
Daily Mail Opinion Page

Whether heating your home, fueling your car, providing jobs or creating so many of the items we use daily, oil and natural gas play an integral role in all of our lives. These resources make our world turn, and West Virginia sits at the epicenter of the shale revolution.

It’s for these reasons I applied for the job of executive director of the West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association. And I feel privileged to be selected as leader of the group.

As a transplant to West Virginia at an early age — I graduated from high school in Greenbrier County and from undergraduate and graduate schools at Marshall University — I made the choice to remain in West Virginia and to establish and grow my career here.

As an environmental and regulatory lawyer who has represented the oil and gas industry in private practice for 15 years, I have helped create policy, laws and regulations that affect the industry and have helped clients understand and comply with these laws and regulations for many years.

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