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Advantages of West Virginia for Chemical Expansions

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The Chemical Alliance Zone is strategically centralized in the eastern United States, perfect for chemical expansions. Its excellent infrastructure and proximity to major markets makes it an ideal location for industrial development. Eighteen major metropolitan areas are within 500 miles.



Ample Raw Materials


West Virginia's mountains have been home to salt mines and other mineral deposits, as well as vast supplies of natural gas and coal, critical to the chemical industry. A broad range of raw material feedstocks are available for synthetic operations. Well-positioned in the industry, West Virginia has more than 163 suppliers of key inputs in-state and 2,788 within a 250-mile radius.


Advanced Facilities and Research Capabilities


A variety of research and development-oriented firms are locating at the renowned South Charleston Technology Park to capitalize on the research environment. Their presence and capabilities can support research and development and product introduction plans. Long-term arrangements include sale or lease of property, shared investments and joint ventures for new products.




The Chemical Alliance Zone follows the Kanawha and Ohio Rivers. The area relies heavily on railway service from CSX and Norfolk and Southern. The region has an excellent roadway system with three major Interstates (I-64, I-77 and I-79) intersecting in Charleston. The Alliance Zone is within a 24-hour trucking distance of 43 percent of the U.S. industrial market and 39 percent of the consumer market.


A Dedicated and Skilled Workforce


West Virginia's labor force is as respected as its chemical industry. A strong work ethic is one of the major factors that attracted companies more than seventy years ago, and continues to be an important consideration for new businesses. West Virginia boasts offers trained production supervisors; chemists; chemical technicians; plant and equipment operators; molding, forming and extrusion machine operators; machinists and industrial mechanics numbering nearly 30,000 strong. The average industry wage in West Virginia is 85 percent of the national average and 90 percent of the average wage in competing states.


A State of Profitability


West Virginia can offer significant savings in electricity costs, with the sixth-lowest industrial electric rates in the nation. The state's Freeport Tax Exemption Amendment exempts goods in transit to out-of-state destinations from local inventory sites. Profit can be further bolstered since profit margins average 2.45 percent higher for a typical specialty chemicals establishment in West Virginia than those in competitor states.*


* Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina.




There are six institutions of higher learning within the Chemical Alliance: West Virginia University, West Virginia State University, West Virginia University Institute of Technology, The University of Charleston, Marshall University and the Marshall University Graduate College.


Community Support for the Industry


There is strong community support for the chemical industry in central West Virginia. The support is in large part due to the industry's policy of openness and its immediate response to real and potential problems. After the Bhopal, India, tragedy, the area's industry became a source of national attention since it manufactured similar products. Learning from the experience, the industry worked diligently to inform citizens and build an excellent emergency response system. The regulations promulgated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1995 were modeled after the area's “Safety Street,” occurring the same year. This was the first community risk management planning event in history. Today, the local emergency planning committee is a model for LEPCs across the nation.


Quality of Life


Visitors to West Virginia are impressed by its beauty. It is a natural wonder with a wide variety of outdoor recreational activities. Still, the rural atmosphere provides urban convenience. Both Huntington and Charleston have symphony orchestras, fine arts facilities and sports complexes. Both are centers of regional commerce, government and shopping.



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