Marshall County hailed as counter to ailing economy - Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

Marshall County hailed as counter to ailing economy

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Natural gas development has been booming in Marshall County ever since companies first tapped into Marcellus shale resources in northern West Virginia.

The Consumer Energy Alliance Mid-Atlantic has featured Marshall County in part three of its series illustrating the positive impacts of shale has development in various communities.

"Situated in the northern point of the state and nestled between the Ohio and Pennsylvania borders, Marshall County, WV lies in rich Marcellus and Utica Shale territory," a release from the CEA Mid-Atlantic states. "In fact, Marshall County has 36 Marcellus completed wells, with 143 set to come on line in the future. With this production in the area, Marshall County has recently become a draw for many companies operating in the region, including Chesapeake, Chevron, Consol Energy subsidiary CNX Gas Corp., Noble Energy, Trans Energy and Gastar Exploration, among others."

The CEA Mid-Atlantic predicts "significant manufacturing and economic growth for the area" due to the availability of the shale gas resources.

"It is one of the fortunate communities across America that is not only surviving, but also thriving during these difficult economic times thanks to the job creating and activity spurring production of domestic energy resources," the release states.

The result? Increased property values, higher pay wages and more jobs in Marshall County, the organization states.

"The economic [shale gas] benefits include 35,000 industry-related jobs, with average annual salaries of more than $60,000 for those directly employed... the industry pumps $757 million annually into the state economy through wages plus another $771 million in capital investments last year," said Michael McCown, president of the Independent Oil and Gas Association of West Virginia.

According to the release, John Hunnel, general manager at Auto Choice in Moundsville, is seeing a boom in sales of more expensive vehicles such as SUVs and luxury cars. Cindy Johnson, general manager of McLure Hotel in Wheeling told the CEA that occupancy rates have jumped from 40 to 75 percent since the "phenomenal" boom in business has been created by shale gas activity.

"We send the guys to the local businesses, like the Bridge Tavern (& Grill), River City (Ale Works), Uncle Pete's, Centre Market and other places," Johnson said.