Mercer County secures funding for natural gas pipeline extension

Published: Jan. 25, 2023 at 9:09 PM EST
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BLUEFIELD, W.Va. (WVVA) - A natural gas pipeline is set for extension in Bluefield, W.Va.’s Cumberland Industrial Park, following the Mercer County Economic Development Authority’s securing of $1,000,000 in American Rescue Plan funding. The project is set to cost $6,000,000 in total -- with other funding coming from the state and federal level.

Economic development leaders in Mercer County said the area is currently missing out on opportunities to attract business without natural gas access in the industrial park.

“It’s been a detriment to tell people ‘no we don’t have gas out there,” said Frank Brady, Chair of Mercer County’s Economic Development Authority.

“We have manufacturers call us from time to time, and they want to know what all the utilities are. And if natural gas isn’t included in that list, a lot of them back out and not come to the county,” said Gene Buckner, Mercer County Commissioner.

But now with $6,000,000 secured, and a project led by the U.S. Department of Energy, leaders said Wednesday they are nearly ready to move forward and break ground.

Executive Director of Bluefield, W.Va.’s Economic Development Authority Jim Spencer said the pipeline extension could benefit businesses in cost-cutting as well.

“It allows the businesses through that area to price shop,” said Spencer. “To look at saving money on their utility costs.”

There is no timeline for groundbreaking to begin as of yet, but Brady said it will likely happen sooner rather than later.