Promoting Development, Local Chambers of Commerce Insensitive to Environment

by Duane Nichols on April 15, 2018

North Central West Virginia Business Summit (4/9/18)

“Tearing down the walls” for economic development

Editorial by John Miller (Executive Editor), WV News, April 13, 2018

Since its inception four years ago, we’ve touted the Bridges Without Boundaries Business Summit, which brings together members of four area chambers of commerce: Harrison, Marion, Monongalia and Preston, counties in WV.

The focus of the summit is to bring business and government leaders together to network, looking for opportunities to work together to enhance our economic development efforts.

This year’s event, held Tuesday, was the largest since its beginning and featured a number of guest speakers who shared insight into the region’s economic future as well as ways to partner together.

The summit also featured dozens of booths set up by area businesses, which allowed visitors and participants to stroll the event hall and learn at their own pace.

As would be expected, a good amount of time focused on the region’s role in the Marcellus Shale development, with WVU Energy Institute Director Brian Anderson sharing his expertise.

“We have, in North Central West Virginia, a lot of natural gas resources,” Anderson told the crowd. “There have been some natural gas power plants in various stages of development here in North Central West Virginia. That’s one of the things that could certainly affect the area.”

He stressed the real game changer could be the development of downstream manufacturing associated with the byproducts of the “wet gas” components, which are used in the plastics and chemical industries.

“There’s a real opportunity in the supply chain,” Anderson said. “There’s an opportunity in manufacturing there, because of road connectivity to D.C. and some of the bigger population centers that way across I-68.

“You can imagine that the supply chain goes from (a) cracker near the Ohio River, but then the next level being the dryer and processor can be here in North Central West Virginia. The manufacturer and finished product, as well, and then just ship it into D.C. We can certainly build all of those small manufacturers that are really a big multiplier.”

While Anderson’s vision brings excitement in regards to the region’s potential if parties work together, we were also thrilled to see Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto as a keynote speaker.

That city is one of 20 cities being considered for Amazon’s “second headquarters,” a development that could lead to 50,000 jobs.
Peduto talked about the potential for Pittsburgh to team with the technology sector in North Central West Virginia, based out of the I-79 Technology Park in Fairmont and WVU in Morgantown.

“With the supercomputing center (at the technology park) and with the capacity that it has, it would be a benefit,” Peduto said. “Adding that to our application adds to the potential footprint to come all the way in to West Virginia. On top of that, there are some really great workforce development programs at WVU that have partnered with IBM.

“When you start talking about 50,000 jobs, you’re going to be taking it from a much larger footprint than just one city or county. It’s about having that pipeline of people that they could rely on to be workers. The goal would be to provide as many jobs to people already here as possible.”

If Amazon decides to locate to Pittsburgh, combined with the known uptick coming from natural gas, as well as the state’s commitment to road infrastructure, the demand for good workers will increase dramatically.

That should make West Virginia fertile ground for in-migration, instead of what’s become the norm — people leaving the state.

While we understand much of what was talked about on Tuesday was visionary in nature, the presentations paint a clear picture of what’s possible — if officials and businesses learn to break down traditional walls that constrict us and learn to work together.

Presidents of Four County Chambers

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Mary Wildfire April 16, 2018 at 8:16 am

You had me going with the title of this one…

I remembered an earlier editorial from John Miller and was surprised that he would point out that these development plans are “insensitive to the environment”–no, he didn’t, as usual, that’s just your comment.

I see here he’s listed as editor of wvnews, which puts out two or three long articles a week about the wonders of the coming Appalachian Storage Hub, with never any mention of the downside, either environmental or health or property rights … often, as with this one, taking the slant that we need cooperation rather than competition so we can have this marvelous development, as though bickering between officials of different localities fighting for the goodies is the prospective threat to this wonderfulness (and not the possibility of people of the various localities working together to defend the Ohio River and our homes from this assault).

This is propaganda, nothing more, and it’s legal. You can run newspapers and TV channels in the US that deliberately mislead viewers on behalf of various interests with no repercussions. The result is what we see today, a situation likely to be described by future generations, if any survive in civilized form, as a time of near universal madness, a religious cult that led the world into destruction (the religion being growth, capitalism, consumerism, the notion that humans own nature, rather than being a part of it).

Mary Wildfire, Roane County, WV


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: