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New Investments Will Bolster W.Va.

In the span of just a few hours on Wednesday, West Virginians learned that nearly $3 billion in new investment by three companies is planned for the Mountain State, bringing with them more than 1,000 full-time jobs.

The biggest announcement — and the worst-kept secret in the state in recent memory — came from Nucor, a North Carolina-based steel manufacturer that says it will build a new electric arc furnace and steel mill in Mason County, slightly southwest of Parkersburg along the Ohio River.

Nucor also is considering a transloading facility in Weirton that could lead to new jobs in our area.

The new mill will create about 1,000 temporary construction jobs and 800 full-time jobs.

Also announced Wednesday, the first full day of the legislative session, was an agreement between the state and GreenPower Motor Co. of Canada to lease or purchase a 9.5-acre manufacturing facility in South Charleston to make electric school buses.

The plant is expected to hire 200 workers initially, with growth to 900 in two years.

The third announcement came as West Virginia University Health System expanded on a partnership with Owens & Minor Inc. to launch a health care products preparedness center in Morgantown. The project would create about 125 jobs and represents a $50 million investment in the state.

“We have proved the rocket ship ride I promised the people of West Virginia is real,” Gov. Jim Justice, who announced late Tuesday he had contracted COVID-19, wrote in a statement.

“We are continuing to recruit world-class companies to our state as shown in three major announcements … these announcements are historic, but incredibly, they are just the beginning. West Virginia is finally competing on the world stage, and we are witnessing the results firsthand.”

Mountain State residents are used to industrial jobs such as those that will be supplied by Nucor. But how exciting is it that to go with that we have a company that will provide new “green” industrial jobs. Such development is important for the future of our economy on more than one level.

“West Virginia has shown us to be a pro-business state that has a workforce ready to take advantage of clean energy jobs,” Brendan Riley, president of GreenPower, said.

Lawmakers and economic development officials have momentum on their side, then.

They must not fail to take advantage of it moving forward.

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