Special Session on Shale Possible

WHEELING – West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin hopes to call state legislators to Charleston next week for a special session to deal with Marcellus Shale policy, he said during a visit today in Wheeling.

Tomblin’s office said he will consult with legislative leaders about the timing for a special session.

Tomblin made the announcement before more than 400 state and local officials during the 25th Annual Project BEST breakfast at Oglebay Park’s Wilson Lodge.

The special session is expected to take place about a month before lawmakers convene for their regular session in January, and Tomblin explained it is necessary to deal with Marcellus Shale bill separately before other measures are considered during the regular session of the Legislature.

“The issue of getting (Marcellus Shale) rules on the book is too important to get lost with other topics during the regular session, and to be placed on the back burner,” Tomblin said. “It’s important to West Virginia.”

He said Senate President Jeff Kessler, D-Marshall, and House Speaker Richard Thompson, D-Wayne, have legislation ready for review.

“All the stakeholders have met,” Tomblin commented. “And we’ll come out with a good, responsible bill.”

Among those also present at this morning’s breakfast were Kessler; Secretary of State Natalie Tennant; state Supreme Court justices Robin Davis, Brent Benjamin and Menis Ketchum; Treasurer John Perdue; and Auditor Glen Gainer.

Project BEST – which stands for “Building Efficiency by Striving Together” seeks to coordinate the efforts of labor and business to utilize local construction trades.

Entities receiving awards during the breakfast for construction projects this year were the St. Vincent’s Home for Children; the new aquatic center at the Wheeling Hampton Inn; the J.B Chambers Performing Arts Center at Wheeling Park High School; Tri-State Machine Inc.; the Stratford Corporation building extension; the West Virginia Independence Hall renovation work; Tri-State Financial Services Office renovation; Caiman Energy’s energy processing plant in Marshall County; Swisher International’s renovations at its Wheeling plant; and the First Steps Pediatrics office building.

Project BEST is a consortium of over 400 building contractors, the Ohio Valley Construction Employers Council and more than 6,000 members of the Upper Ohio Valley Building and Construction Trades Council.