As we all know, the best solution to West Virginia’s many problems is economic growth. Jobs and increased revenue can go a long way toward reducing the severity of issues facing the state ranging from the drug epidemic to low teacher pay.
Yet West Virginia continues to get in its own way when it comes to preventing growth.
Oil and gas drilling is a good example of how old laws, old rules and old ways of thinking are keeping West Virginia from realizing much of its economic potential.
In 2008, West Virginia was the No. 1 state for natural gas drilling in Appalachia, drilling twice as many wells as Ohio and Pennsylvania combined, Charlie Burd, executive director of the West Virginia Independent Oil and Gas Association, told reporters at the West Virginia Press Association’s annual legislative breakfast Thursday.
But that leadership changed quickly as Marcellus Shale drilling took off, with Pennsylvania taking the lead, and now twice as many rigs are drilling in Ohio than West Virginia.
Why the difference? “Pennsylvania and Ohio’s regulatory climates have adapted to the new technology,” explained West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Executive Director Anne Blankenship. “West Virginia’s has not.”
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