By W. KENT CARPER
For those of us who actually live here, pay bills and taxes here, the ongoing removal of West Virginia's natural resources without regard to our land, homes and quality of life leaves a bad taste. We historically have welcomed companies such as Chesapeake Energy with open arms and believed in their promises, only to learn they were false promises made at our expense.
The following facts are crystal clear:
* The economic meltdown caused the job losses, not West Virginia judges, who do care.
* The Supreme Court of West Virginia did review the "Estate of Tawney v. Columbia Natural Resources LLC" case.
* Chesapeake Energy knew about the liability they were assuming when they made their purchase and began operations in West Virginia.
* Chesapeake Energy only assumed 11 percent of the liability while NiSource/Columbia had 80 percent.
* NiSource/Columbia does not blame either the Supreme Court of West Virginia or our "business climate" for their decision.
* Chesapeake Energy broke its promise.
This is not about me -– it is all about the good citizens of Kanawha County and the state of West Virginia -– their jobs.
The West Virginia Record failed to make any reference to my position regarding NiSource/Columbia's cutback the day following Chesapeake Energy's declaration of gutting the state of its operations. I was quite clear when I said, "Although this news is bleak in these troubled times, we must remain positive, looking to the future" and "We continue to be hopeful concerning NiSource/Columbia's maintaining a viable presence in Kanawha County."
I have had the privilege of talking with NiSource/Columbia's president, Chris Helms, offering him Kanawha County's full support in any of his efforts to maintain jobs here in Kanawha County. The West Virginia Record should do a follow-up regarding my true position.
The West Virginia Record makes light of my "30 years of public service," but if you had bothered to look, you would have discovered that my family has been in business for over 100 years in this community. I am also a businessman and have been for the past 30 years, making payroll and paying taxes.
I stand by my request to the West Virginia Legislature that it is time to take aggressive action to keep jobs in West Virginia and pass laws that prevent foreign corporations from exploiting the state's people and natural resources.
Carper is president of the Kanawha County Commission, and a partner with the Charleston law firm of Hill Peterson Carper Bee & Deitzler.