The West Virginia Center on Budget & Policy has just published a new report in an ongoing series called “The State of Working West Virginia.” This new report is titled “In Depth: The Gas Boom and Coal Bust” (a full copy is embedded below). The 34-page report, as the title indicates, takes a look at the tax and employment impacts of West Virginia’s coal industry which is sinking fast, and the upcoming Marcellus Shale industry which is rising fast.
The authors of the study advocate a new severance tax on shale gas (and coal) as one way to help the state. They also think the minimum wage should be increased from $7.25 per hour to $9.80. While most of the study centers on jobs and the economy of West Virginia, the section most MDN readers will want to read is Section Five, pages 21-27. That’s the section dealing directly with coal and natural gas in the state, including this interesting graph showing an estimate for natural gas production in WV through 2035: