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Officials say they need to seek clean business for industrial park

May 16, 2003|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

Martinsburg, W.Va. - With Berkeley County development officials in negotiations to buy a parcel of land for an industrial park, one said the area's ozone concerns should lead to a focus on "clean industries."

Behind closed doors Wednesday morning, members of the Berkeley County Development Authority discussed the possible land purchase. Its location or acreage could not be revealed, and no decision was made other than to continue negotiations with the seller.

Howard Strauss, a Berkeley County Commissioner who also is on the authority, said a particular type of business should be sought, should the land be purchased.

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"We need to reach out and look for clean industries," Strauss said.

A clean industry is one that does not pollute and that has pollution-control devices in place, Strauss said.

Getting clean businesses is especially important because the Eastern Panhandle is in danger of being labeled as "nonattainment" with regard to ground-level ozone.

More ground-level ozone is present than what federal environmental officials deem acceptable. To prevent being labeled as nonattainment, which would carry a number of repercussions, officials in Berkeley and Jefferson counties are attempting to reduce ozone levels.

A consultant working with county officials is expected to present ozone reduction possibilities during a public meeting June 3. The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. at 119 W. King St. in Martinsburg.

By June 16, a report must be submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency, naming possible avenues for reduction, said Bob Crawford, executive director of the Berkeley County Development Authority.

This area is one of 34 throughout the country taking a proactive stance with regard to reducing ozone levels, Crawford said.

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