I am writing regarding an article by Ken Ward that was published in the Charleston Gazette-Mail on March 28.
I am chief executive officer of Energy Corporation of America (ECA) – a natural gas and oil company that is headquartered in West Virginia. We were founded more than fifty years ago in Glenville, West Virginia, and employ more than 150 people in Appalachia, many of whom are located at our corporate headquarters in Charleston, our offices in Buckhannon, or our shop in Doddridge County.
I disagree with the premise of the article, especially the argument that energy companies “want the state to take care of Wall Street not Main Street.” This argument is blatantly false.
ECA is a private company that is headquartered in Charleston and has significant operations throughout West Virginia. Our employees live here. Our taxes remain here. We shop here. We invest in our local communities. We volunteer with area non-profit groups. We attend church here. We are raising our families here. We are the definition of “taking care of Main Street” because we are Main Street.
At this time, our ability to develop natural gas resources is limited by West Virginia’s existing statutes. We support co-tenancy and lease integration because they would permit us to explore for oil and natural gas more efficiently and compete with our neighboring states that in many instances have more advantageous development statutes. This would ultimately enable us to invest more in West Virginia – creating more jobs, generating more taxes, and putting more money back into the local economy. I have spoken with a number of colleagues representing West Virginia companies similar to ECA and we are in agreement in the view that co-tenancy and lease integration are essential to promoting future development and jobs.
In closing, when many other companies were leaving the area – moving to Pennsylvania, Ohio, or states out west, we made the conscious decision to relocate our headquarters to West Virginia. We have chosen to build our company here. We only ask that the Legislature help make the Mountain State’s business climate conducive to us remaining, developing, and thriving here.
Chief Executive Officer
Energy Corporation of America
500 Corporate Landing, Charleston, WV 25311