By Bob Weaver

"If government doesn't open its mind, if it doesn't open its entire repertoire, if you will, of how we do business, nothing will change," the governor told a crowd in West Virginia's Capitol City, announcing the construction of Chesapeake Energy's new multi-million headquarters.

The company plans to open their Charleston headquarters in 2009.

Counties in WV with some of the greatest deposits of coal and natural gas have been open for extraction for over a century, with those counties still among the most poverty stricken in America.

West Virginia sits on the largest deposit of natural gas in the eastern US, and could be sitting on one of the world's largest deposits of deep well gas.

The state has been "open for business" for a long time, and still its residents are subject to unfairness with royalty holdings.

"West Virginia is the key to our development of the enormous natural gas reserves that we believe remain to be found in the Appalachian Basin that stretches from Alabama all the way to New York State," said Chesapeake CEO Aubrey McClendon.

"Charleston, West Virginia is exactly the right place for us to lead a new spirit of natural gas exploration in the Appalachian Basin," McClendon told a crowd of hundreds.

Governor Joe Manchin, talked about the issues that have come up since the company first came to West Virginia more than a year ago, including $404 million award against the company by a Roane County jury.

"The bottom line is, he's (McClendon) never wavered. His commitment is as strong now as it's ever been," Manchin said.

The governor never mentioned the CEO went on a media blitz saying he was going to pull his operation from West Virginia, after the state's royalty owners won a suit contesting the withholding of production costs from their royalty ownership.

McClendon also threatened not to build his big office building in Charleston.

The royalty holders said they had not been paid for rights to the natural gas on their property.

Chesapeake's announcement came just days after state lawmakers opted not to take up proposed legislation that would have defined how natural gas royalties are determined.

Manchin has said the royalty issue needs to be "clarified," a promise he made to the group last winter.

That's expected to come up again during next year's regular legislative session.

Now the natural gas outfits are going to spend millions of dollars on a media blitz to convince WV residents they're doing the right thing.

The Governor contends the proposal would have no impact on cases that have already been decided, including the $404 million verdict. Royalty stakeholders adamantly disagree.

Manchin says the natural gas industry is important to West Virginia and he says the proposal lawmakers are now considering would be one promoting transparency, including what the costs are for getting natural gas to market.

The Roane County multi-million dollar verdict determined the natural gas companies involved had underpaid some 10,000 property owners for rights to the natural gas on their land.