The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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October 8, 2012

Raese built golf course without permits, Corps of Engineers claims

(Continued)

MORGANTOWN —

An individual permit, which has more in-depth requirements and includes a 30-day public notice provision, would have cost $100 and taken about 120 days to obtain.

Raese hinted at the problems with Pikewood last week while calling again for abolition of the EPA, suggesting during a Shepherdstown debate that the agency and the corps are trying to punish him. He accused the EPA of "terrorizing business" and offered Pikewood — which he did not mention by name — as an example of valuable job creation.

"You know what happens to me?" he said in the debate. "Right now, the EPA and the Army Corps are my new partner because they're up there every day. Fines. Looking at me, for what? I don't know. I built it on 1,300 acres and they're looking at probably 20 feet by 30 feet.

"Can you imagine this, when you try to create something that's so beautiful and so pretty and has won so many awards?" he added. "My award is that I'm chastised by government."

Golf Digest rated Pikewood the best new private course of 2009, noting its membership "initiation fee" is $30,000.

According to Links magazine, Raese and Greer Industries vice president Bob Gwynne designed and built the course themselves rather than hire an architect. Raese is president of Greer, a steel and limestone producer.

"We wanted to feature the natural terrain and the rock formations on the property," Gwynne told the magazine. "After all, we are in the rock business. We wanted to make the most natural course we could."

Raese is also chairman of the board of West Virginia Radio Corp. and the MetroNews radio network, and vice president of the company that publishes The Dominion Post newspaper.

This is Raese's fourth Senate bid. He challenged Sen. Jay Rockefeller in 1984 and the late Sen. Robert C. Byrd in 2006. In a special election to fill Byrd's unexpired term after his death in 2010, Raese lost to Manchin by 10 percentage points.

Now Manchin and Raese are competing for a full term.

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