WV Coal: Back to the Future
Via The West Virginia Gazette:
The recent announcement that Mylan, now Viatris, will shutter its Morgantown manufacturing facility and eliminate 1,500 jobs in the process leaves us all with an inexplicable empty feeling and sense of hopelessness.
It serves as a brutal realization that longstanding state businesses can be “here today, gone tomorrow” due to factors not abundantly clear to us.
If state leadership had advanced warning or insight into the reasons for Viatris’ decision, could they have convinced them to continue operations? While it appears not, this decision serves as a wake-up call.
Similarly, as we work to diversify our economy and recruit new industries to West Virginia, we must be cognizant of the whims of the marketplace and its effect on new business ventures. Do these prospective ventures have the staying power to ride out a market downturn or the enticement of a merger or, more generally, the lure of greener pastures somewhere else?
I recognize that Gov. Jim Justice, the state Department of Commerce and local economic development professionals have had many recent successes and work extremely hard to grow West Virginia’s economy. That same level of diligence also must extend to doing everything imaginable to preserve and retain existing state businesses.
Gov. Justice and our legislative leaders have done a great deal for the coal industry in recent years. However, we also have seen a growing sentiment within our state to attract new, “high tech” businesses to come here while not doing everything imaginable to preserve coal, coal mining and coal-based electric manufacturing.
Coal industry employment in West Virginia currently surpasses the soon-to-close Viatris facility by a large margin. Our coal-fired electric power facilities employ thousands and contribute a substantial amount to the state economy.
Even in its current reduced profile, coal and coal-based electric manufacturing facilities account for one in every six dollars generated within our state. This is substantial and is much too important to take for granted.
We must do everything imaginable to preserve this gigantic economic enterprise.
See the article here.
- On January 4, 2021