Oil and gas supporters rally.. | Logan Banner

Organizers the West Virginia oil and natural gas industry rally on the State Capitol steps Tuesday estimated the crowd at nearly 1,000 people, including busloads of workers from across the state and industry leaders.

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From the Logan BannerOil and gas supporters rally at capitol

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Supporters of the West Virginia oil and natural gas and oil industry rallied on the State Capitol steps Tuesday morning in an effort to make their voices heard.

“Here you are, wanting to go to work, wanting to develop a resource God has given us in West Virginia to create thousands of jobs and do lots and lots of goodness,” Justice said. “I commend you. I will not hinder or stand in your way. I understand wholeheartedly contingency, joint development, the things that you need to perpetuate your industry.”

The “stumbling blocks” along the way, Justice said, could be dealt with by investments from residents who made $200,000 and above annually and from businesses themselves.

“I’ve asked that the wealthy people, including me, contribute a little teeny bit,” Justice said. “If you’re making an excess of $200,000, we ask that you’ll pay $500. If you’re making over $300,000, we ask that you’ll give $1,000 one time. I’m asking that the businesses pay a teeny bit and that you can give one penny for every four dollars.”

For many industry veterans in attendance, extensive site regulations have been a major issue. Bill Maloney, two-time Republican gubernatorial candidate, said the regulations placed on the industry have made it difficult for energy businesses to thrive in West Virginia, specifically state storage tank constraints.

“I used to drill shafts for coal mines, and then I got into the oil and gas business after I sold that,” Maloney said. “Now I’m got a few wells of my own invested, but it’s much easier to drill a well in Ohio than it is here. There’s something wrong with that.”

“The oil and natural gas industry has invested more than $10 billion in West Virginia since shale development began accelerating eight years ago. The tens-of-thousands of men and women directly and indirectly employed by the industry have helped make West Virginia the country’s No. 4 energy producing state,” according a release from the event.

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