“The reality is so simple: you are the absolute future of this state,” Gov. Justice said. “Now, we do have plenty of challenges at our doorstep, but I do really believe that we’re doing things to make things better.”
The two-day IOGAWV Winter Meeting is the best-attended and largest industry event of the year, serving as a chance for oil and gas leaders to get together to discuss the latest developments in the industry, with a goal of finding new ways to make these energy commodities thrive in West Virginia.
“I don’t like playing catch-up all the time,” Gov. Justice said. “We see Pennsylvania doing this, Ohio doing that, Virginia doing this…a lot of times all we want to do is try to catch up to where we’re almost as good as them. Well, I don’t want to be almost as good as them. I want to try to help you to be way better than them in every way.”
“Our tax structure needs updated – I was for tiered severance 3 years ago and I am still supportive of that idea,” Gov. Justice continued. “I want to see us pass legislation this session that will get some of our old abandoned wells plugged and provide a break to those that have low pressure wells.”
The Governor also said he hopes to do his part to help speed up the permitting process.
“Right now, in the Legislature, there is a bill moving – House Bill 4091 – it passed through the House unanimously. It would create an expedited permitting process for new wells and help speed up the process for you,” Gov. Justice said. “I am behind this bill one hundred percent. As soon as it gets to my desk, I’ll sign it in a heartbeat.”
Gov. Justice also discussed that, through his close relationship with President Donald J. Trump and leaders with the United States Department of Energy, he is working to make sure the Appalachian Basin and West Virginia play a vital role in the upcoming expansion of the petrochemical industry. The Governor also highlighted his creation of a Downstream Jobs Task Force to capitalize on manufacturing opportunities that may be made possible through this expansion.
According to the DOE, this so-called 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.
“At the end of the day, the opportunity for this state is off the chart,” Gov. Justice said. “Anything and everything I can do to help, I’ll be there because I love our state and I want goodness for our people – and goodness for our people starts with what you’re doing.”