WE CAN DO BETTER THAN LONGVIEW!
Some Alternatives to Longview
Local citizens and environmental groups have been trying to work with the Mon County Commission since November 2002 to have GenPower/Longview Power buy emissions offsets from local pollution sources. This would make the County's air the same or cleaner (if more than 100% of emissions are offset locally) as a result of this new coal-fired power plant. Neither the Commission nor GenPower are willing to entertain this idea, and no such compromise provision is in the PILOT (tax-break) agreement.
CALP's founding belief is that Morgantown and Monongalia County, West Virginia can do better than Longview. Ideally, the county would develop a long-term economic development strategy, from a broad-based visioning process that proactively seeks input from the general citizenry. It is our understanding that the Mon County Development Authority is now developing a strategic plan that will include an opportunity for public input. We applaud this effort and look forward to participating in it. In the meantime, here are some types of economic development that we believe the county should be supporting in place of Longview:
- First and foremost, Monongalia County should be creating an environment appealing to non-polluting businesses creating high-wage jobs. This includes not just an economic environment but also the physical and social environment. Clean air, clean water, multiple recreational opportunities, excellent schools and a lively arts community are all factors well-known to contribute to strong, healthy economic growth.
- Commercial spin-off development from West Virginia University is another major opportunity for Monongalia County. CALP supports the effort to establish companies based on WVU research in biotechnology, biometrics, forensics etc.
- Agriculture is an important if sometimes forgotten economic activity. Given that GenPower and the state of Pennsylvania are already building a facility near the Longview site for treating millions of gallons per day of polluted mine water, there is now an abundant water source in that area. Could this resource, along with the adjacent coal resources, be used for agricultural purposes. CALP believes this and other such ideas are worth exploring.
- The area has abundant coal resources that have historically been one of our key economic strengths. However, coal combustion is not the only way to use these resources. Mon County already has more than its share of coal-burning facilities. We believe the county should be seeking other ways to use coal. The National Energy Technology Laboratory, located right here in Morgantown, has numerous programs on new ways to extract value from coal without burning it. Similar research is underway in other labs as well. There is no better place for commercial application of this research than Monongalia County. Our economic development officials should be working closely with the coal research community.
- Monongalia County must prepare for a "post-coal" economy, preferably emphasizing energy efficiency and renewable energy sources.
WE CAN DO BETTER THAN LONGVIEW!