As we head into the 2024 legislative session, there are several policy issues to monitor and bills to follow. In November of 2023, WVEC members and member groups gathered at Tygart Lake State Park for WVEC’s annual meeting to discuss and decide on its legislative priorities.
Attendees emphasized safeguarding solar power and addressing abandoned oil and gas wells. Speakers covered various causes, from environmental justice to opposing petrochemical projects. Attendees listed all their issues and then ranked them by voting. It’s impossible to predict everything that will come up during the 60-day legislative session, but WVEC’s lobby team will advocate for your priorities:
Net Metering – protect and preserve long-standing net metering rules to ensure all solar users are entitled to the existing fair market retail rate. You can learn more and take action on our website here and by reading the WV Highland Conservancy article here.
Orphaned Gas Well Responsibility – require bonds to cover the cost of plugging for gas wells, to be paid before drilling begins to prevent any more abandoned or orphaned wells. You can learn more and take action on our website here and by reading the WV Highland Conservancy article here.
Community Solar – promote access to affordable renewable energy through a solar facility subscription service where customers can purchase an interest in a solar facility and use credits against their electric utility costs. You can learn more and take action on our website here and by reading the WV Highland Conservancy article here.
Advanced Nuclear – monitor 2022’s bill to repeal the state’s ban on nuclear power, while opposing expansion of this energy source if no safe long-term storage is available.
Hydrogen Hub/CCS – monitor legislative developments and oppose any proposal that increases or further subsidizes carbon emissions through use of fossil fuels.
Solar Production on Degraded Lands – encourage expansion of solar energy production on degraded lands to provide revenue for landowner.
Aboveground Storage Tank Legislation – prevent further rollback of legislation passed after the 2014 chemical spill in Charleston. Recently defeated bills would have relaxed inspection requirements on oil and gas tanks located within zones of critical concern.
PFAS Ban – work toward the elimination of PFAS (“forever chemicals”) in consumer products and industrial use.
ORV Restrictions – defeat proposals to open up public lands to Off-Road Vehicles and other legislation that is not compatible with the nature-based values and conservation of West Virginia’s public lands.
State of West Virginia Scenic Rivers Designation – Establish permanent safeguards for our scenic, wild and wonderful rivers, streams, and waters.