The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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Editorials

August 29, 2013

Gassing up

State lawmakers learned recently that alternative fuels are catching on in West Virginia.

While this is a good development for our communities, the state and the environment, caution must be taken to make sure this new trend is made safe for all parties involved.

Speaking before state legislators, Bill Davis, director of the National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium at West Virginia University, informed them that proper protocols need to be put in place to ensure that everyone supplying and using alternative fuels is doing so in the safest possible way.

Davis told the Joint Commission on Economic Development at the West Virginia Legislature that these alternative fuels are not more dangerous than traditional gasoline or diesel fuel, just different in the delivery systems.

Davis’ presentation comes at a time when alternative fuels are rising in usage across the state and the idea of implementing safety procedures before the big boom hits strikes us as a positive step.

With more and more vehicles hitting the road using natural gas and other alternative fuels, proper training procedures must be put in place to keep natural gas vehicles, facilities and their users safe.

We are glad that the Legislature’s economic development commission is listening to experts like Davis.

The benefits of making sure that proper tools and equipment are used at stations and that the people working them are trained in multiple phases can only help people use alternative-fueled vehicles.

By having properly trained individuals in the alternative fuel industry, jobs in this industry could grow in West Virginia. Certified individuals may find themselves employed at local businesses for the sole purpose of handling the delivery and distribution of these alternative fuels.

Thus, a domino effect could occur, allowing for existing businesses to expand, and new businesses to be established; all the while easing our dependence on oil.

The rising tide of alternative fuels can mean truly great things for our state — but only if all of the safety concerns are addressed allowing for a new industry to take a foothold in the Mountain State.

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