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Without a doubt, West Virginia is one of the most important energy producing states in the country. From our world class reserves of coal to our growing output of oil and natural gas, our state has tremendous potential to help our country become energy independent and put West Virginians back to work in family-supporting jobs.

It was not that long ago that pressure from Washington, D.C., attempted to strangle all aspects of energy production and transmission in our state. Trying to keep West Virginia’s energy resources in the ground — for purely political reasons — would have helped to put West Virginians out of work, helped create an unstable state budget and made our state unfriendly to businesses that need reliable, affordable energy.

Manufacturing is essential to West Virginia’s economy, providing tens of thousands of jobs and more than $4 billion a year in exports. But there’s an import that threatens these West Virginia companies: Class action lawsuits.

This profit-driven litigation frequently sprawls across state lines to ensnare local businesses with claims that are expensive to defend and typically designed to be settled by paying plaintiff attorneys multimillion-dollar fees to go away. They impose unnecessary costs and management distraction on manufacturers without providing much of anything to class members, the supposed clients.

That’s why I support the Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act, a bill now pending in Congress that would provide meaningful reforms to an out-of-control system. First of all, FICALA would stamp out “no-injury” lawsuits where lawyers assemble a class of plaintiffs without showing, up front, that they’ve suffered any tangible injuries.

Below are statements and media coverage on China Energy’s announcement and signed Memorandum of Understanding for $83.7 billion dollar investment in West Virginia. It has been reported that the investment will cover a 15-20 year period and include two natural gas fired power plants (tentatively in Brooke and Harrison counties), a methanol facility, and an ethylene glycol/PGA plant.

Plans also include a two-phase investment in the Appalachian Storage Hub. The first phase is reported to be $4 billion and one of the earliest investments planned, the second phase is said to include an additional $20 billion investment in the hub.

This commitment represents what could become the largest investment ever by a Chinese Company outside of China. Job reports vary, but thousands of constructions jobs and potentially more than 1,000 permanent jobs top early estimates. Additional downstream jobs are expected to number in the thousands.

The WVMA congratulates the administration, our congressional delegation, and industry leaders who have worked and will continue to move this vision forward.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Manufacturers Association (WVMA) is thanking voters for supporting the Roads to Prosperity Amendment and allowing the state to make a major infrastructure investment over the next several years.

“Our members represent a broad spectrum of manufacturing in West Virginia, and we couldn’t be happier with this election result,” said WVMA President Rebecca McPhail. “West Virginia has seen some major manufacturing and economic development news lately, particularly in the automotive sector, so having safe roads and bridges is all too important to us.”

The WVMA was part of a non-partisan coalition of business and labor groups that combined forces for a statewide road bond campaign.

“We have said it many times, but it is worth repeating: Our ability to compete in today’s manufacturing economy relies heavily on our ability to ship and receive products safely and efficiently,” McPhail said. “Now, we can tell companies that are looking at West Virginia for potential investment that our infrastructure finally is going to get the attention it deserves. West Virginia’s future looks even brighter than it did just a couple days ago. The massive infrastructure investment that is going to come from this road bond plan is going to transform our state.”

The WVMA is comprised of more than 175 companies representing a broad range of manufacturing sectors including chemical, food grade, hardwood, steel and automotive manufacturing. Currently, the manufacturing industry employees more than 47,000 West Virginians at competitive wage levels, accounting for nearly 10 percent of the states total output.