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Energy generation economy will require evolution

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  • OPINIONState Journal EditorialsMore>>

  • Political gains are wasted if health changes don't happen

    Political gains are wasted if health changes don't happen

    Friday, September 12 2014 8:00 AM EDT2014-09-12 12:00:30 GMT
    West Virginia is the most obese state in the world's most obese nation, according to an annual report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Trust for America's Health.
    West Virginia is the most obese state in the world's most obese nation, according to an annual report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Trust for America's Health.
  • Big announcements should spur positive action

    Big announcements should spur positive action

    Friday, September 5 2014 9:50 AM EDT2014-09-05 13:50:45 GMT
    Our state's natural gas industry is growing in amazing ways. Just this week, it was announced that Dominion Resources, Duke Energy, Piedmont Natural Gas Co. and AGL Resources are proposing a $5 billion natural gas pipeline to connect the Southeast with natural gas supplies from Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia.
    Our state's natural gas industry is growing in amazing ways. Just this week, it was announced that Dominion Resources, Duke Energy, Piedmont Natural Gas Co. and AGL Resources are proposing a $5 billion natural gas pipeline to connect the Southeast with natural gas supplies from Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia.
  • Business community must raise a voice against status quo

    Business community must raise a voice against status quo

    Friday, August 29 2014 9:00 AM EDT2014-08-29 13:00:23 GMT
    As our state's business leaders gather at The Greenbrier this week for the 2014 West Virginia Business Summit, we hope they have a sense of urgency and realize what they must do to bring this state into the 21st century.
    As our state's business leaders gather at The Greenbrier this week for the 2014 West Virginia Business Summit, we hope they have a sense of urgency and realize what they must do to bring this state into the 21st century.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday handed down an interesting decision in terms of what the Environmental Protection Agency can and cannot do in terms of reducing emissions at power plants and factories.

Experts have said the federal agency got 80 percent of what it wanted in this case, but some in West Virginia are touting it as a victory. That remains to be seen, but what has not and will not change is the fact that we must become an energy leader and a state with a more diverse economy.

Coal is cheap and reliable and it will be in our nation’s energy-creation mix for years to come. Our state is at the forefront of natural gas exploration. The question becomes: How do we learn from the past and harness this growth? Part of this dynamic will be developing and implementing clean, environmentally-conscious ways to utilize these resources. Some may scoff at that notion and they’re right to be cynical, but we also have to be realistic. Viability means looking forward. We cannot predict the future, but those in power see climate change as a threat and we must be cognizant of that. Whether they are correct or not is far from settled science, but the sentiment is not going to change anytime soon. For us to compete in the modern economy of energy generation, then we must be willing to evolve and grow.

We also must be willing to look beyond natural resources. We must be a state that welcomes investment at every level and of every stripe. We have a dedicated workforce that, when given a chance, can compete with anybody. Toyota Motor Manufacturing West Virginia, a place often lauded for its efficiency, is solid proof of what we can do. Yet Toyota and others like it are outliers. They operate outside of a broken system. If we want to help this state achieve its potential, then we must have a fair and equitable tax system for all, not just a select few. We need courts that put justice and fairness above all else. And, perhaps most importantly, we need schools that prepare our young people for life in the 21st Century and give them the tools to succeed in a global economy. Our first step is using 2014 to elect men and women to public office who understand these concepts are not afraid to challenge the status quo.

What the EPA does or how we’re treated by the federal government is out of our control. If we want a better West Virginia, then it’s up to us to make it happen.