WASHINGTON -- Rep. Nick J. Rahall, D-W.Va., urged the Federal Bureau of Investigation to consider West Virginia as a location for its future national headquarters during a congressional hearing on Wednesday morning.
Rahall is the top Democrat on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, which oversees the planning of public federal buildings. According to a news release, the congressman encouraged the FBI to consider the quality of life employees could enjoy in the Mountain State.
After representatives from Maryland and Virginia spoke, Rahall said, "While these titans of the Beltway lock horns, let us all remember that there is a calm, safe, and serene environment in 'Almost Heaven' in which our hardworking and dedicated FBI employees can work -- West Virginia."
The Criminal Justice Information Services Division, the FBI's largest division, is already located in Clarksburg, Rahall pointed out. The FBI owns another 1,000 acres near that building.
The Internet Crime Complaint Center, run jointly by the National White Collar Crime Center and the FBI, already operates a facility in Fairmont.
The FBI also opened a new agency building in downtown Charleston last summer.
Since the CJIS division moved from Washington to Clarksburg, Rahall said, FBI executives have reported significantly lower absentee rates and improved employee retention.
"The benefits of West Virginia as a home for federal facilities are abundant and our agencies would do well to consider the community," Rahall said.
A decision about where to relocate the FBI headquarters, now on Pennsylvania Avenue between the U.S. Capitol and the White House, is expected to be made within the coming year.