West Virginia has always relied on coal to drive its economy, but now some leaders are pushing an alternative. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce was in Charleston on Tuesday to launch its "Shale Works For US" campaign.
It's a national effort that's designed to build support for the vast economic and energy benefits that could come from exploring the Marcellus Shale. "An important reminder is how important shale energy will be to the economy in West Virginia, the jobs it can create, the industries it can attract, and the investment that will happen in local communities. We really thought it would be important to have a discussion and to have a campaign in West Virginia about this important resource," said Karen Harbert with the Institute for 21st Century Energy.
In 2009, the shale energy industry created more than 7,000 jobs according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and experts believe that could be the beginning of a new economic boom.
"It's going to have a direct impact on businesses in the industry, an indirect benefit on lots of business that are supply the industry, and a lot of investment will be flowing into the state, which can then be invested in communities," said Harbert.