The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

November 10, 2013

Our Readers Speak — Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013

State should welcome fracking headquarters

West Virginia looks to fracking to change the state’s fortunes. The National Journal (10/29) reports that West Virginia officials are “betting” on fracking to reverse the fortunes of one of the nation’s poorest states, but the state which has had energy booms before will have to learn from its past mistakes.

Thus far, the state has had little success attracting corporate headquarters. As of now, only one of the state’s top 10 national gas drillers, Chesapeake Appalachia, has headquartered in West Virginia.

The article in the National Journal hints at the problems of the state not being business-friendly by indicating that only one company has a corporate office in West Virginia in dealing with the natural gas exploration. Also, Chesapeake is actually headquartered in Oklahoma, but located a small eastern headquarters building in West Virginia to be closer to the Appalachian Shell Gas.

If the powers in Charleston treat them right, they would stay and grow and others would come. But as they have in the past, they will probably force them to relocate with the hostile corporate climate that still exists in West Virginia.

This has taken all the white-collar, high-paying jobs to other states and leaves only blue-collar jobs behind along with the removal of the resources. If it weren’t an issue, every gas company out there would be moving resources to West Virginia. Right now a big push is to tax the hell out of paying anything that is extracted and piped through West Virginia (and that’s OK) but that’s just tax dollars for the state to spend and typically does not go toward economic development. You need both.

Dr. Michael J. Kominsky