June 5, 2012
Morgantown — West Virginia gubernatorial candidate Bill Maloney believes that our state can lead the nation toward energy independence. Today Maloney released the following op-ed about the importance of using our abundant natural gas reserves to help pave the way for less dependence on foreign oil.
Fortunately here in West Virginia, we are blessed with abundant natural resources. Our vast reserves of coal and natural gas are second only to the natural beauty we share as Mountaineers. Affordable, abundant power has also been a big advantage to job creators including manufacturers and others who rely on it here in West Virginia to be competitive in the global marketplace.
Never before have we seen such glaring price disparities between coal and natural gas. Despite the government’s constant meddling, global markets will eventually sort out these disparities. You are seeing that right now with LNG terminals once designed to bring gas into US markets being retrofitted to ship it overseas. International companies are moving manufacturing and petrochemical facilities back to the United States based on low cost natural gas and power supplies. As we’ve been preaching for the past year, fixing a few basic things like our courts and tax code will make us more competitive with our surrounding states. With these important changes, West Virginia is poised for growth.
Right now it is time for West Virginia to take the lead and make our nation energy independent by using natural gas as a transportation fuel. We can start by having our state government set the example. Government vehicle fleets should include natural gas power, particularly in larger trucks and buses where it makes the most sense. In the United States today, there are over 11,000 transit buses, 4,000 refuse trucks, and 3,000 school buses already using natural gas. There are tens of thousands of others medium and light duty vehicles also being fueled by natural gas.
We can also install natural gas fueling stations for these vehicles that can be shared with the private sector. Natural gas powered vehicles have reliably been used in many commercial services as well, such as telephone, cable, and gas and electric utilities. If the price of natural gas stays low and we make it fair for job creators to do business in West Virginia, then more natural gas fueling stations will eventually come.
Leadership in the Governor’s office that takes on the overreach of President Obama and his job killing policies will also go a long way toward achieving the goal of energy independence from tyrants in Venezuela and Iran. America needs an all-inclusive energy policy, and here in West Virginia we need to be in a position to have affordable natural gas available for transportation while we continue to provide affordable, reliable coal fired electricity.With both coal and natural gas on our side, there is no excuse for West Virginia to have fewer job opportunities than any other state in the country.
West Virginia needs to be an energy leader. Let’s quit talking and start doing!