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Charlie Burd

Charlie Burd

Without stepping foot in the Mountain State, getting to know our people or way of life, politicians in Washington and from other states are advancing energy and environmental policies that would be punishing to West Virginia’s businesses, communities, way of life and citizens.

While we’ve long been a leading producer of the world’s energy, West Virginia’s natural gas and oil sector of today is modern and efficient, with digital innovation and technological breakthroughs transforming a sector vital to our state’s livelihood.

The energy we produce here powers lives across the world — and, with natural gas demand set to rise globally almost 25% by 2050, we’re doing it more cleanly, efficiently and responsibly than anywhere else on the planet.

From Williamson to Charleston, Parkersburg and Weirton, natural gas and oil are the lifeblood of West Virginia’s economy, contributing $11.2 billion to our state’s annual economic output, according to a recent report. The 82,000 union and nonunion jobs we support across our economy means diners filled in West Union, new development in Bridgeport and opportunities for high school, technical school and college graduates to find a good-paying career here at home.

Today’s natural gas and oil sector is ahead of the curve, advancing technologies that move the entire industry forward. From pad drilling and underground horizontal laterals, which greatly reduce the amount of surface development, to recycling and water-reuse practices, which limit fresh-water withdraws, and recognizing value in older wells through care and attention and responsible plugging, we’re seeing the future of natural gas and oil development right here in West Virginia.

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Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., and our entire congressional delegation, understand the critical importance of natural gas to meeting the dual challenge of a cleaner and economically prosperous world. Yet, far too many in Washington don’t realize the devastating consequences of unrealistic energy and environmental policies.

In Pleasants County, thanks to readily available natural gas, we are seeing manufacturing on the rise, as the $350 million West Virginia Methanol facility will take natural gas and convert it into a critical input for all sorts of everyday goods, such as carpeting, clothing, and medical masks and gloves, to name a few.

And the proposed Longview Power natural gas plant in Monongalia County is a great example of using the natural gas right beneath our feet to power nearby homes and businesses. In addition to contributing reliable energy to the electrical grid, the construction of the plant will create 5,000 jobs during construction, generating more than $360 million in total compensation.

We are proud to produce energy that powers our state, nation and the world. Rather than talking past each other on cable news, politicians might consider spending more time in the communities affected by their decisions.

Come to West Virginia, see the future of American energy at work.

Charlie Burd is executive director of the Gas and Oil Association of West Virginia, an organization that lobbies for natural gas and oil development. Learn more at GOWV.com.

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