WV lawmakers prepare for North Dakota trip to study the future f - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

WV lawmakers prepare for North Dakota trip to study the future fund

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Senate President Jeff Kessler, D-Marshall, announced even more support for a future fund in West Virginia.

Representatives from the business, labor and industry communities in West Virginia will accompany lawmakers this week on their trip to North Dakota to learn more about its legacy fund.

A bi-partisan group of 17 lawmakers will leave Aug. 21 after their monthly interim committee meetings in Charleston.

The non-legislative members accompanying lawmakers on the trip will be: Kenny Perdue, from the WV AFL-CIO; Steve Scholotterbeck, Joe Dawley and Greg Hoyer, of EQT Production; Bob Orndorff, of Dominion Energy; Corky DeMarco, of the WV Oil & Natural Gas Association; Ted Boettner, of the WV Center on Budget and Policy; and Rick Wilson, from the WV Economic Justice Project.

"We have a good cross-section of people who represent all aspects of West Virginia making the trip," Kessler said in a news release. "I look forward to talking to legislative leaders and those responsible for implementing the Legacy Fund and learning from their economic development efforts."

North Dakota's Legacy Fund was created in 2011. It is funded by oil and gas revenue, and it reached $1 billion after 20 months.

"The concept of such a future fund holds tremendous potential, as well as other successes that North Dakota has experienced in managing their energy resources," Kessler said. "I am very interested in what the state's experience can teach us."

Kessler has proposed a similar fund for the Mountain State, and has been developing that proposal for the past three years. He has said if the state creates the fund now, it could serve as a permanent endowment to ensure wealth after the natural gas boom is gone.