I am writing today to ask that you include the development of the natural gas industry as part of the Virginia Energy Plan currently under review. Virginia’s natural gas industry has a proven safety record and has been operating in an environmentally sound and safe manner for the past 85 years. Virginia has been producing natural gas in Southwest Virginia for over half a century, and hydraulically fracturing since the 1950s, with no permanent groundwater degradation – an unparalleled safety and environmental record. There are over 8,000 producing wells in Virginia, most of which are coal bed methane wells (CBM).
I live in Southwest Virginia and I am employed by Virginia’s natural gas industry. Virginia’s natural gas industry is an important economic driver in the Commonwealth. The jobs it provides, the taxes its producers, associated companies and distributors pay to the state and to local governments are vital to the economy. My family personally depends on the Natural Gas industry for its lively hood, and a recent American Petroleum Institute study shows that the direct, indirect and induced number of jobs provided by the oil and gas industry in Virginia is 125,500 jobs provides nearly $7.0 billion in wages and contributes nearly $12.0 billion to the state’s economy.
It is my hope that the Commonwealth of Virginia will continue its support of development of the natural gas industry as it moves forward in its review and implementation of Virginia’s Energy Plan. I urge the Division to acknowledge the fundamental importance of oil and natural gas to the Commonwealth’s economy, citizenry, and future as it moves forward in its review and implementation of Virginia’s Energy Plan.