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Dust ourselves off and move forward

It appears the Brooke Power project proposed over the last few years will not become reality after all. That is unfortunate to say the least, especially when you look at the potential impact it would have had in our area.

The big question now is, what happened?

In making the announcement, company officials said the decision was a result of changing market conditions. The COVID pandemic has affected just about every aspect of our economy, including the natural gas industry, so, perhaps, building such a power plant wasn’t feasible based on current market conditions.

Could it have been the apparent resistence initially offered from the Governor’s Office? Gov. Jim Justice didn’t seem interested in having a natural gas fueled power plant built in the state, seemingly focusing more on the idea of coal power. Eventually, he said he would leave the decision up to the state Economic Development Authority, which, soon after, agreed to provide a $5.5 million loan.

Locally, officials have been on board since the earliest talks, helping to locate multiple potential sites for the proposed plant. Tax agreements were signed between the company, the county commission and the board of education.

Between construction and full operation, this project would have meant jobs for our residents and millions of dollars in tax revenue for Brooke County, not to mention downstream potential for future growth.

Hopefully, the full story will one day be known and it can help our area, and our state, better prepare for other opportunities. Until then, we file it away and try to move forward.

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