By Mary Stortstrom
CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. – The Jefferson County Commission voted to support the funding of a demand study that will be conducted to determine the economic feasibility of bringing natural gas into Jefferson County during its Feb. 6 meeting.
John Reisenweber, executive director of the Jefferson County Development Authority, addressed the commissioners and explained the importance of bringing natural gas into the county.
“I consider this to be one of the most important infrastructure issues in the Eastern Panhandle,” he said.
According to Reisenweber, there is one place in Jefferson County where natural gas lines are located – the former Kodak/3M plant. Reisenweber said there have been problems with attempts to re-develop the site.
Reisenweber said a pre-feasibility study on the introduction of natural gas into the county was conducted. A stakeholders meeting was held to gather input from Charles Town and Ranson officials, Jefferson Medical Center, American Public University, and the West Virginia Economic Development office.
“We were trying to see if there were anything that would make it impossible to bring natural gas into the county,” Reisenweber said. “We learned that there are two pipelines – one going North from the Eastern Panhandle and one going South. The southern pipeline is almost fully committed, it could maybe power another 1,000 homes.”
Reisenweber said a natural gas pipeline would need to be built in Jefferson County to deal with the capacity issue.
He requested $20,000 in funding for a demand study, which would determine the need for and justify the economic feasibility of building the pipeline.
Reisenweber said the construction of the pipeline, if done, would cost approximately $1.5 million per mile. He said the pipeline, if built, would be approximately 19 miles long…