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Virginia Economic Roundup: Danville Embraces ‘China Strategy’

 

Danville officials are looking into potentially recruiting Chinese companies to the area as part of their economic development focus.

“One of the few countries where businesses are looking for new locations around the world is China,” Danville City Manager Joe King said. “We believe that Danville should establish itself as the premier East Coast center of Chinese industry. Rather than those familiar ‘Made in China’ labels, we’d like to see labels that say, ‘Made by a Chinese Company in Danville, Virginia.’”

Danville Economic Development Director Jeremy Stratton has traveled to China five times to meet with potential investors. Two Chinese companies already operate facilities in Danville — Zeyuan Flooring and furniture company GOK.

“We’re only going after good Chinese industries,” King said. “We have no intention of becoming a Chinese industrial slum full of low-paying jobs. We want Chinese businesses that provide good family-wage jobs and make significant investments in [their] plant and equipment — companies with good environmental, workforce and corporate citizenship track records.”

Dominion Enters Agreement to Deliver West Virginia Natural Gas

Richmond-based Dominion Resources Inc. has announced agreements to deliver 500 million cubic feet of West Virginia-produced natural gas each day to Ohio and lease more than 100,000 acres of Marcellus shale rights.

Dominion will receive payments of approximately $200 million over the next nine years for leasing agreements and royalties. The natural gas covered under the deal will be drilled on 80,000 acres in Lewis and Harrison counties, farmed out to Pittsburgh-based CONSOL Energy.

Dominion also subleased nearly 9,000 acres to CONSOL in Gilmer and Ritchie counties and farmed out 13,000 acres in Harrison and Taylor counties to Triana Energy LLC.

Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project: Silver Line Delay ‘Doesn’t Affect’ Timeline for Phase 2

The Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project says the recent delay of Phase 1 of Metrorail’s Silver Line will not affect the timeline for Phase 2 of the project, which will bring the Silver Line to eastern Loudoun County.

Last week, it was announced that the Silver Line’s original Phase 1 opening date, set for sometime in 2013, would be delayed until March as a result of safety testing due to problems with a software system that operates the Automatic Train Control System. But because the Dulles Metrorail Project was broken into two separately contracted phases, delays in one phase do not necessarily mean delays in the other.

Phase 2 of the project is in the preliminary information-gathering stage and is slated to begin in spring 2014 and wrap up in 2018.

Phase 1 of the project will involve stops at West Falls Church, McLean, Tysons Corner, Greensboro, Spring Hill and Wiehle-Reston East. Phase 2 stops will be located at Reston Town Center, Herndon and Innovation Center. The line will also stop at Dulles Airport and Route 606 and will terminate at Route 772 at the Dulles Greenway.

SACS Removes U.Va. From Warning Status

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools’ (SACS) Commission on Colleges has removed the University of Virginia (U.Va.) from warning status.

The accreditation agency placed U.Va. on a 12-month warning last December in response to the removal and reinstatement of President Teresa Sullivan.

[UVa administrators] “provided enough evidence that the committee felt they had done enough to be taken off sanction,” SACS President Belle Wheelan said.

Sullivan resigned in June 2012 at the request of members of the university’s Board of Visitors, notably then-Rector Helen Dragas. The decision sparked protests in the U.Va. community, and the board voted unanimously to reinstate her later in June.

Wheelan said that the Commission on Colleges saw the attempted removal as a symptom of larger problems with the board, notably that a few key players were able to pressure Sullivan into resigning. Minority control of a governing board is a violation of one of the Commission on Colleges’ core requirements.

U.Va. now requires a majority of board members to approve “appointment, removal, requested resignation, or amendment of the contract or terms of employment of the President.”

Wind Energy Project Clears Competitive-Interest Hurdle

The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) said Dec. 6 that it found “no competitive interest” in an area 24 miles off the Virginia coast where the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME) hopes to build an offshore wind test facility.

The test project would involve two utility-scale wind turbines generating 12 megawatts of power.  Dominion Virginia Power won the lease auction for the Wind Energy Area in September. The turbine demonstration project is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.

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