Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) introduced a second bill yesterday to encourage the development of a natural gas storage facility in Appalachia.

"The Appalachian Energy and Manufacturing Infrastructure Revitalization Act," S. 1340, would streamline permitting for a regional facility storing natural gas liquids: ethane, propane and other chemical manufacturing feedstocks separated from what is used to produce electricity.

The bid to buoy West Virginia's flagging chemical industry would classify an Appalachian regional energy hub as "critical energy infrastructure."

The legislation would identify federal and state liaisons to work with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and expedite federal grant and loan program applications for a hub proposal.

"The benefits of establishing a regional energy hub in Appalachia cannot be overstated," Capito said in a statement. "This important infrastructure project would help create much-needed jobs for West Virginians and grow our state's economy in meaningful ways."

In a recent report, the American Chemistry Council estimated that building the $10 billion facility would spur $35.8 billion in petrochemical, plastics and other investment by keeping natural gas and associated jobs from the Marcellus, Utica and Rogersville shales closer to home.

Capito and West Virginia counterpart Sen. Joe Manchin (D) sponsored S. 1075 to study the feasibility of building the hub (E&E Daily, May 19).