Recognizing both opportunities, challenges of natural resources - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Recognizing both opportunities, challenges of natural resources

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  • Calacino's in Beckley is home to Mountaineer football

    Calacino's in Beckley is home to Mountaineer football

    Calacino's in Beckley is home to Mountaineer football

    Saturday, August 30 2014 5:40 PM EDT2014-08-30 21:40:42 GMT
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    The Mountaineers have thousands of fans, but Calacino's in Beckley is one local business that relies on them to keep their doors open.Jerseys, and posters fill the walls and Calacino's owner, Jerry Zaferatos , said in college football you cant count anyone out."I wouldn't have this business if I listened to people saying, you don't have a chance," Zaferatos said.Dominique Calicino opened the business back in the early 1930's and the owner says that he doesn't know where they would be without ...
  • One person injured after ATV accident in Fayette County

    One person injured after ATV accident in Fayette County

    Saturday, August 30 2014 4:37 AM EDT2014-08-30 08:37:47 GMT
    Emergency crews were called to the scene of a ATV accident, just before 10 pm Friday.According to Fayette County 911 the ATV was struck by a vehicle along the 1900 block of Rt 60 Anstead area of Fayette County.One person was transported by helicopter, to a local hospital for treatment, The extent of those injuries or what caused the accident is not yet known at this time.The Fayette County Sheriff Department is investigating.
    Emergency crews were called to the scene of a ATV accident, just before 10 pm Friday.According to Fayette County 911 the ATV was struck by a vehicle along the 1900 block of Rt 60 Anstead area of Fayette County.One person was transported by helicopter, to a local hospital for treatment, The extent of those injuries or what caused the accident is not yet known at this time.The Fayette County Sheriff Department is investigating.
  • Intruder Kicks in Door at Apartment in Beckley

    Intruder Kicks in Door at Apartment in Beckley

    Friday, August 29 2014 11:27 PM EDT2014-08-30 03:27:05 GMT
    Beckley Police are searching for two suspects after a burglary at the Lewis Ritchie Apartments in Beckley around 10:00 Friday night (8/29). 
    Beckley Police are searching for two suspects after a burglary at the Lewis Ritchie Apartments in Beckley around 10:00 Friday night (8/29). 

 

According to Margo Thorning and Tom Witt, the Mountain State has the potential to expand on numerous opportunities offered by the coal and natural gas that currently abound in the state.

Both Thorning and Witt presented reports to the House Oil and Gas caucus Feb. 25. 

Thorning, senior vice president and chief economist of American Council for Capital Formation, said that with those oil and gas opportunities also come challenges.

Part of the challenge, she said, is understanding the ongoing tax reform issue, current federal tax provisions used by the oil and gas industry and what the potential economic loss of those provisions would mean.

Current federal tax provisions include accelerated depreciation, intangible drilling costs, geological and geophysical expenses, percentage depletion and interest expense.

As to the question of whether or not those provisions are subsidies, Thorning said she thinks they are.

Thorning went on to say that a loss of the current federal tax provisions could potentially mean the slow down of cash flow, the increase of the cost of capital for new investment for both corporate and non-corporate business and the slow down of investment.

As to the expanded opportunities, Witt, chief economist at Witt Economics LLC and professor emeritus at West Virginia University, said investments are what has the ability to put the Mountain State at the top of the coal and natural gas food chain.

In his presentation, Witt noted, the potential for several petrochemical investments have been discussed in the Appalachian Region, including one in Wood County being evaluated by Odebrecht. 

The economic impact of an ethane cracker is great, Witt said.

"Building an ethane cracker and associated polyethylene manufacturing facilities is a watershed economic opportunity for the state and region," he said. "This opportunity would expand a high-value manufacturing industry that creates high wage jobs, new technologies and the prospect for expanding downstream plastics industry investments."

Before changing economics, Witt said the Mountain State used to be "a hub of chemical activity."

For advice about how the state can continue expanding on opportunities, Witt drafted a series of six small books explaining six different concepts: Economic Opportunities for West Virginia Overview; The Development of Shale Gas and Energy Use and the Chemical Industry; Understanding the Ethylene Value Chain; Oil and Gas Production and Petrochemicals in West Virginia; Shale Resources in West Virginia and Appalachia; Economic Impact of a New Ethane cracker and Downstream Polyethylene Plants in West Virginia.

According to Thorning, West Virginia is ranked second among the states in gas producing wells and gas production. Pennsylvania is at the top of the list. 

Witt said additional steps should be taken to continue advancing the Mountain State in the coal and natural gas industry.

Those additional steps include new educational programs, progressive policies, competitive transport for domestic products and developing a robust market for ethylene cracker co-products.

Expanding training programs already are in place to ensure local residents are qualified for potential construction jobs, investing in training beginning at the high school level and continuing through community colleges and trade schools, keeping a sufficient ethane supply in the Appalachian Region rather than having it sent via pipeline to other regions and strengthening existing infrastructure are also things that will help propel West Virginia forward, he said.