Manchin, Capito introduce natural gas storage legislation

WASHINGTON — Two pieces of legislation were introduced Monday regarding the possible establishment of a natural gas storage facility in Appalachia.

U.S. Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., proposed the Capitalizing American Storage Potential Act, which would make a regional storage hub eligible for the Department of Energy’s Title XVII loan guarantee program. The loan focuses on supporting early commercial use of certain technologies.

According to a statement from Manchin’s office, securing the loan would allow West Virginia to reap the opportunities association with the region’s natural gas resources, the Marcellus, Utica and Rogersville shale formations. The facility would store natural gas and expand the region’s energy infrastructure.

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.

“This storage hub will create jobs and expand the economy in the Appalachian region, which has been affected by the decline in energy production and manufacturing in the region,” Manchin said. “The Title XVII loan program is a perfect way to help move this project forward.”

“Not only would a regional storage hub help us make the most of our energy potential, but it would create jobs and spur economic growth, benefiting communities across the state,” Capito said.

The American Chemistry Council released a report last month detailing how the facility would create more than 100,000 permanent jobs by 2025 in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Kentucky. In addition, federal, state and local governments would receive $2.9 billion in new revenue annually.

The council presented the study with Manchin, Capito and Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va.

The trade association represents chemical companies across the United States. Dow Chemical Co., Bayer Corporation and 3M Co. are listed as regular members on the council’s website.

The senators introduced May 17 the Appalachian Ethane Storage Hub Study Act of 2017, which would conduct a feasibility study on establishing a facility.

U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va.

Capito also introduced Monday the Appalachian Energy and Manufacturing Infrastructure Revitalization Act of 2017, which directs the Energy and Commerce secretaries to designate the energy hub as a “critical energy infrastructure” project to accelerate federal permitting.

“This important infrastructure project would help create much-needed jobs for West Virginians and grow our state’s economy in meaningful ways,” Capito said in a press release. “By reducing regulatory burdens, the Appalachian Energy and Manufacturing Infrastructure Revitalization Act will bring us one step closer to making the Appalachian energy hub a reality.”

According to the release, the legislation is supported by the American Chemistry Council and the Mid-Atlantic Technology, Research and Innovation Center.

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