CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Several West Virginia elected officials offered comments Thursday afternoon following the ethane-cracker related announcement in Parkersburg.
U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller:
“Today’s announcement brings with it the opportunity for robust economic development and much-needed job creation in the region, and that cannot be overstated,” Rockefeller said. “However, we’re at the frontier of the fracking revolution and everything surrounding shale gas development absolutely must be done responsibly. West Virginia stands to benefit greatly from today’s announcement, but only if the environmental, health, and economic interests of West Virginians are the top priority every step of the way. Governor Tomblin deserves enormous credit for working tirelessly to bring this multi-billion dollar investment to the state and I commend him for all his efforts to create jobs and boost our state’s economy.”
U.S. Senator Joe Manchin:
“With our state’s continued development of natural gas drilling, I am extremely pleased that Governor Tomblin has announced that the Brazilian company, Odebrecht, is interested in exploring the development of a new petrochemical complex in Wood County. After years of our local and state leaders working together with energy companies worldwide, this is a textbook example of how a public-private partnership can strengthen not only West Virginia, but also the entire Mid-Ohio Valley region. Today’s announcement is further proof that our collaborative efforts – among every West Virginia economic stakeholder – are continuing to restore confidence in the hearts and minds of West Virginians and the business community that the Mountain State is indeed a great place to do business.
“I thank Governor Tomblin, Odebrecht and all the parties involved in making this deal possible, especially since it will create thousands of good-paying jobs in the construction, energy and manufacturing sectors, while keeping us strong and competitive. As plans develop and work on this venture continues, I stand ready to assist in any way that I can while also making sure this Administration and the EPA work as our partner and not as our adversary.”
Second District Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito:
“Today’s announcement highlights how West Virginia can use its vast reserves of Marcellus Shale natural gas to improve our economy and the quality of life in the Ohio Valley and across West Virginia.
“West Virginia has a long history of innovation in the chemical industry. While the construction and operation of an ethane cracker will create good-paying jobs, it also significantly improves the state’s ability to attract other employers who rely on the chemicals the ethane cracker would provide. West Virginia can leverage this project to attract and retain the best and the brightest, further fueling our state’s economy.
“While obstacles do remain, I am ready to work with local, state and federal officials to overcome these issues and make this ethane cracker – and these jobs – a reality for the people of the Mountain State.”
First District Congressman David McKinley:
“Today’s announcement is great news for Wood County and the entire state of West Virginia. The thousands of jobs and billions in investment that will result from this project will transform our state’s economy for decades to come.”
“Since coming to Congress three years ago, our office has been working to take advantage of the energy abundance below our feet and attract a cracker facility to West Virginia. We’ve lived through the disappointment when Shell decided to locate elsewhere but vowed to not let that happen again. After confidential discussions with Odebrecht and Braskem over the past two years it is exciting to see this project finally coming to fruition and to be able to discuss it publicly.”
“The Obama Administration and the EPA have been working to stop development of fossil fuel resources like coal and gas and put up roadblocks for projects such as this. That’s why we’ve been so aggressive in pushing back against their misguided regulations and policies. This announcement is a reminder of the potential our energy represents, and why we must be vigilant in this fight.”
“West Virginia is blessed with an abundance of natural gas and it is vital that we take full advantage of this resource. Rather than producing the gas here and shipping it elsewhere, we will now be able to benefit from industries that need it. This facility is only the first foothold. There will be thousands of more good jobs that will locate here around a cracker. For the hardworking people of Wood County and the surrounding area this is a great day and sign of good things to come.”
West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant:
“This first, crucial step toward building a cracker plant is great news,” Secretary Tennant said, “I congratulate Gov. Tomblin, his development team, and officials in Wood County on their hard work.
“While there are additional steps that must occur before this development goes forward, the potential for thousands of well-paying construction and permanent jobs is tremendously exciting. This is an unprecedented opportunity for West Virginia to revitalize our chemical industry and diversify our energy economy.
“This is also an unprecedented opportunity for residents of Wood and surrounding counties, as West Virginia has a great workforce that is eager to embrace this development.”
West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey:
“Congratulations to Wood County and the entire state of West Virginia on today’s news that Odebrecht will be taking the next steps in exploring the development of an ethane cracker, three polyethylene plants, as well as associated infrastructure for water treatment and energy co-generation, near Parkersburg. This multi-billion dollar investment could truly be a game changer for the state of West Virginia and her people. While the process will be long and many steps must now be taken to ensure these plants are built, our Office will do everything in our power to assist the state, Wood County and Odebrecht in making project ASCENT a reality.
“As Gov. Tomblin said during his announcement today, there are many hurdles that still must be overcome for the plants to become a reality. Our Office will work with all parties on any legal matter that may come up and assist the state in any way.”
House of Delegates Speaker Tim Miley:
“This is a first step, but it is a huge step, probably the biggest of all steps that need to take place for West Virginia’s natural gas industry, and we will do everything we can to make this plant a reality, ” Miley said. “I have great faith in West Virginians and their work ethic, and this is an opportunity of a lifetime to improve West Virginia’s economy for generations to come, so that our children, and our children’s children, will have job opportunities here at home.
Governor Earl Ray Tomblin, joined by legislative and state leaders and company representatives, announced the planned acquisition today at the Caperton Center for Applied Technology. During the press conference, the businessmen cited West Virginia’s business climate – the state’s stable economy, climbing bond rating and no recent tax increases – as incentive for locating here.
“In the nine years I have been in office, state leaders have been working to ensure that West Virginia continues to be in a position to move forward economically,” Speaker Miley said. “This news is a definitive sign that the hard work and perseverance is paying off.”