Natural gas cracker tax incentive becomes first bill passed by West Virginia Legislature in 2012 (video)

By westvirginia on January 25, 2012
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By Steven Allen Adams | West Virginia Watchdog

CHARLESTON — Both chambers of the West Virginia Legislature came together to pass a tax incentive aimed at luring major natural gas manufacturing facilities to the state.

The state Senate passed HB 4086, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin‘s natural gas cracker tax incentive bill, unanimously 33-0, with Sen. John Pat Fanning (D-McDowell) absent. The House of Delegates passed HB 4086 Monday 93-1, with Del. Jonathan Miller (R-Berkeley) being the lone nay vote.

“The bill is in the back pocket of the Governor, that he can take with him to his meetings with some of the folks are are interested in locating a cracker facility here and show them that West Virginia and its Legislature and Governor and government are willing to move mountains, literally if need be, to get get bills passed to try to make our state competitive and to land one or more of these cracker facilities here,” said Senate President Jeff Kessler (D-Marshall).

Watch the whole interview with President Kessler below:

The bill now goes to Gov. Tomblin for his signature. The proposal was part of Tomblin’s State of the State address two weeks ago. According to the Governor’s office, the legislation will reduce personal property taxes for a company that locates a cracker in the state. The law requires a minimum of $2 billion in investment. The bill extends the 5 percent salvage value tax treatment for crackers and other natural gas manufacturing facilities from 10 years to 25 years.

“This tax relief bill, I believe, showcases our State’s commitment to being a great business partner today and long into the future,” Tomblin said in a statement.

Officials are hoping to lure an ethane cracker to the state. Ethylene, when separated from natural gas byproduct ethane, is used in plastics manufacturing. The two are separated with thermal or steam crackers, which heat up hydrocarbons, allowing the ethylene to be extracted and distilled.

Experts say West Virginia could see as many as two crackers built in the state. Four companies have expressed interest in building crackers, including Shell, which publicly stated a wish to locate a cracker in Appalachia.

If the bill passes, it could be in Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s hands when he heads to Texas. The Associated Press reported Monday that Tomblin was flying to Houston to meet with Shell officials about locating a cracker in West Virginia.

“To spur economic development, attracting an ethane steam cracker has been my number one goal and I am so pleased, with this vote, the legislature has sent a clear signal that they are joining me in this effort,” Tomblin said.

Tomblin said this vote, combined with the law passed last December by the Legislature regulating horizontal natural gas drilling and fracking in the state’s Marcellus Shale region, provides certainty for an industry poised to fuel job growth and a revival of the state’s chemical industry.

“It is through bipartisan support, like this and that of last month’s historic Horizontal Well Act Relating to Marcellus Shale, that we show potential investors West Virginia is ready and willing to take the development of our vast natural gas reserves to the next level in order to help address our country’s energy needs and expand our manufacturing sector,” Tomblin said.

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Posted under Audio, Economic Development, Economy, Employment, Energy, Featured, Governor, House of Delegates, Legislation, Legislature, News, State Senate, Tax Reform, West Virginia.
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