One of my favorite quotes is “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” This sentiment was echoed during the first Tri-State Shale Summit which took place earlier this week in Morgantown, W.V. During the summit, I was intrigued by comments from governors Tom Wolf, Pennsylvania; Earl Ray Tomblin, West Virginia; and Lieutenant Governor Mary Taylor of Ohio, among other business and industry leaders.
We – business, industry and government leaders – must learn to collaborate, share resources and work together if we are going to take full advantage of this valuable resource. It begins with dismissing the idea that state economies function in silos. Economies don’t stop at state lines.
All acknowledged that regional collaboration is imperative in order to develop the tri-state area as a center for shale-related manufacturing.
The chemical industry located in the tri-state region is vital to all three economies. Chemistry is the largest manufacturing industry in West Virginia, the second largest in Ohio and the fourth largest in Pennsylvania.
The Appalachian Basin could very well be the next global petrochemical hub, given the fact we have 17,477 petrochemical and downstream manufacturers – all within 400 miles of each other.
However, to make this petrochemical hub a reality in the tri-state area, the region has to optimize business investments, secure an educated, qualified workforce by strengthening development programs and expand infrastructure to deliver natural gas and liquids. During the summit, the three states signed a three-year cooperation agreement as a first step in reaching this goal.
We have the natural gas and we should be able to enjoy all the benefits of it like the Gulf Coast does. But in order to take advantage of the opportunity we must think collectively and not individually. A coordinated Tri-state region has a greater chance of successfully competing with the Gulf Coast if states work together.
—Jeffrey M. Logan, President of PCIC, Environmental and Regulatory Practice Lead of Bravo Group’s government relations team