Bryce Custer, Petrochemical and Energy Specialist, NAI Ohio River Corridor, joined a delegation of leaders to support infrastructure development in the West Virginia panhandle. The group met with C. Edward Gaunch, Cabinet Secretary, Department of Commerce, for the state of West Virginia and Michael R. Graney, Executive Director, West Virginia Development Office,
In addition to Custer, the delegation included Senator Charles Clements, (R-Wetzel), Bob Miller Jr., Executive Director, WV Route 2 / I-68 Authority, and Greg Kozera, director of Marketing for Shale Crescent USA.
“We reviewed what is going on in the region and how important an I-68 expansion is to West Virginia’s economic future,” Miller said. “I’ve heard if we combine the coal and steel industries they pale in comparison to the potential of the shale industry, which goes beyond just drilling holes in the ground with a few people there maintaining them.”
The group met to encourage Secretary Gaunch to work with the state of Ohio to develop a plan to connect Interstate 68 to Marshall County and to connect with a proposed cracker plant in Belmont County, Ohio. The expansion would eventually connect to I-77 in Ohio via OH State Route 7.
Gaunch experienced first-hand the growing potential for the expansion of with a recent tour of the Shell Cracker Plant in Monaca, PA.
“We had a great meeting with Secretary Gaunch,” Custer said. “We will reconvene with the Secretary of Commerce and will be scheduling a meeting with West Virginia Governor, James Justice soon.” The effort to expand I-68 is gaining momentum as the petrochemical and plastics industry continues its significant expansion in the state of West Virginia.”