CHARLESTON, WV –
Following Gov. Jim Justice’s announcement today
that he had signed an executive order establishing the Governor’s Downstream Jobs Task Force, members of that task force debuted their plan to build infrastructure for manufacturing operations in West Virginia to support the anticipated expansion of the petrochemical industry in the region.
This Appalachian Petrochemical Renaissance could lead to significant growth in the region; including $36 billion in capital investment, more than 100,000 steady jobs, $28 billion in economic expansion, and $2.9 billion in annual tax revenues.
"Harnessing this resource is Governor Justice's paramount goal," task force chairman and Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Austin Caperton said. "Today, we're announcing a major step to accomplishing it, we have an opportunity to transform the state and we are going to try to take advantage of it and we are going to succeed."
Caperton was joined by fellow task force member and Department of Revenue Secretary Dave Hardy to unveil the early stages of the plan to hundreds of the state’s top business, industry, financial, and political leaders at the annual West Virginia Chamber of Commerce Business Summit.
The task force will encourage other energy operations to locate at various points throughout West Virginia to support the construction of additional petrochemical facilities.
"This is exciting stuff, but it's a fierce competition," Hardy said. "We are charged by the Governor, with the help of our Legislature and the help of WVU, to make West Virginia compete here.
"I think we will. And I'm really looking forward to working on this task force."
Other members of the task force include Department of Commerce Secretary Ed Gaunch, Tourism Commissioner Chelsea Ruby, Dean of the West Virginia University John Chambers College of Business and Economics Javier A. Reyes, and Interim Director of the Energy Institute at West Virginia University James F. Wood.