John Miller - Executive Editor
It’s no secret that the Marcellus and Utica Shale gas fields that lie under Pennsylvania, Eastern Ohio and Northern West Virginia have the potential to be an economic game-changer in terms of a source of cheap, clean energy and a catalyst for the rebirth of America’s manufacturing base.
Certainly with five planned interstate pipelines crossing our state in order to get the gas to market — Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina, as well as off-shoring facilities in Maryland — we have a vested interest in the development of this natural resource.
With coal having a somewhat limited long-term future as a base load for power generation and natural gas having surpassed coal as the largest source of electricity in the nation last year, the future is indeed bright.
However, if we are not careful, West Virginia could miss out on the opportunities to maximize the full economic impact that a 100-year supply of natural gas provides.
Unfortunately, West Virginia has already lost out to both Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio on landing the much-desired cracker facilities that break out the ethylene that serves as the base stock for the plastics, chemical and various manufacturing industries.