The Times West Virginian

West Virginia

December 20, 2012

Pro-industry study: Gas may create 58,000 W.Va. jobs

MORGANTOWN — A pro-industry group said Wednesday that if it’s allowed to continue, shale-gas development in West Virginia could support more than 29,000 jobs by 2020, doubling to 58,000 by the year 2035.

The new report issued by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy says the natural gas industry has already created more than 11,800 direct and indirect jobs in the state and generated about $283 million this year alone in tax revenue.

Those revenues could hit $884 million a year for state and local governments by 2020, the report says. In all, it predicts West Virginia could see more than $25 billion in shale-driven revenues between 2012 and 2035.

The report is the second part of a three-part study co-sponsored by the institute, which launched a campaign to promote gas drilling in July.

The Marcellus shale field that underlies much of West Virginia is considered to be one of the richest natural gas reserves in the world. The industry is also paying increasing attention to the Utica shale, even deeper underground.

Steve Roberts, president of the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce, said West Virginia has a “proud history” of producing energy, and the new report shows the importance of building on the opportunity created by unconventional drilling technologies.

The additional revenue, he argues, could help the state make big investments in education, public safety and infrastructure such as roads and bridges

Environmental and citizens’ groups, however, have concerns about the possibility of groundwater contamination from hydraulic fracturing, the process that uses water and chemicals to break gas deposits free from the rock. They also worry about air pollution and damage to roads and streams, among other things.

In September, 10 of those groups renewed their 2010 call for a moratorium on new drilling, arguing the industry is not sufficiently regulated.

West Virginia has enacted an array of new rules, but the Sierra Club, Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition and other groups maintain they’re inadequate protection for public health and the environment.

The Sierra Club was among several groups that issued their own jobs projections Wednesday. They say some 19,500 jobs could be created in West Virginia if the state’s two biggest utilities, FirstEnergy and American Electric Power, were required to invest in programs to promote energy efficiency.

Consulting firm Optimal Energy says focusing on energy efficiency through 2016 would also save customers a total of $800 million over the life of the efficiency investments, or $550 million more than under the companies’ current plans.

“Energy efficiency creates a win-win situation. It puts money back in the pockets of our citizens and it creates jobs,” said Stacy Gloss of Energy Efficient West Virginia.  

West Virginia lags the nation in energy-efficiency investments, the groups say. In its 2012 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy ranked West Virginia 49th out of 50 states and the District of Columbia.

 

1
Text Only
West Virginia
  • Woman convicted in teen’s slaying moved

    A Monongalia County teenager has been transferred to a state prison to complete her sentence for the slaying of another teenager.
    The Lakin Correctional Center near Point Pleasant said Friday Rachel Shoaf has been booked at the Division of Corrections prison. Shoaf turned 18 last month and had been held in a juvenile facility.

    July 26, 2014

  • Board suspends clinic operator’s license

    A West Virginia board Friday suspended the license of the operator of a pain management clinic where investigators found syringes were being reused. It was the second disciplinary action involving the doctor’s license within a decade.

    July 26, 2014

  • Candidates: Leave global warming debate to scientists

    Two West Virginia congressional hopefuls said during their first candidate forum matchup Thursday that the global warming debate is better left to scientists.
    Democrat Nick Casey and Republican Alex Mooney added that other countries should step up in reducing carbon emissions.

    July 24, 2014

  • Lawsuit filed over Dirty Girl Mud Run

    A lawsuit has been filed against the producers of a run that was canceled in Charleston in which participants were told they wouldn’t be issued refunds.

    July 24, 2014

  • WVa. man sues GM over wife's death

    A West Virginia man has filed a lawsuit against General Motors Corp., claiming a defective ignition switch in a Chevrolet Cobalt caused a 2006 accident that killed his pregnant wife.

    July 24, 2014

  • Feds commit to health studies on spilled chemical

    After largely dismissing the possibility of long-term health problems, federal officials will conduct more studies on chemicals that spilled into West Virginia’s largest drinking water supply in January.
    In the next two months, federal health officials are also heading back to West Virginia.

    July 24, 2014

  • Park Service assesses impact of W.Va. attractions

    Four National Park Service attractions in West Virginia drew a total of 1.5 million visitors last year.

    July 23, 2014

  • This weekend's 'Dirty Girl' race canceled

    Organizers of a Charleston running event that was canceled for this weekend says it won’t issue refunds.

    July 23, 2014

  • Reporter heard truck backfiring, not gunshot

    Similar sounds in different circumstances create different reactions. That is so for WVVA reporter Annie Moore, who last Monday told police someone fired a gun at her while she was shooting file footage in the area of a recent murder.

    July 19, 2014

  • Cornhole champions being decided in Charleston

    Cornhole, the strange-sounding game made popular in backyards and at football tailgate parties, is taking on a serious side this week.
    The American Cornhole Organization will crown its world champions as about 380 competitors from 17 states vie for $10,000 in prize money in singles and doubles events.

    July 19, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads