Halfway Done – A Bill Update

It’s Day 31 of Session which means we’ve made it halfway through! Whew! Be sure to follow our Bill Tracking for a more thorough overview, but we thought we’d give a short update on some of the bills we are watching:

Above ground storage tanks

HB4079 – The above ground storage tank rollback bill! This bill exempts tanks within zones of critical concern (ZCC) from the AST act! We are strongly against this bill, and Delegates have reported getting upwards of 800 emails opposing the bill! The bill is currently parked in House Energy.

Coal

See Rules section for Subsidence Bill

HB4574– Establishing Just Transition Support for Coal-Related Jobs . This is a great bill to help coal jobs transition into other careers through creating a small state agency for assistance. The bill is in House Small Business, Entrepreneurship & Economic Development

HB4673 – Recently Introduced and we are on high alert for this bill! As listed “The purpose of this bill is to provide procedures to ensure that no more coal-fired plants close, and long-term state prosperity is maintained.” This bill forces coal-fired utilities to buy coal at 2019 tonnage levels every year indefinitely as to not add to the decline of the sales. It also requires them to have a 90 day supply on hand at all times. It also requires a coal company to go through extensive measures if they do want to close. The bill is currently in House Energy.

Manufacturing

We are monitoring the arrival of the Business Inventory Tax Repeal, though it is adjacent to the work that we do.

HB4001 – This is Speaker Hanshaw’s bill Creating the Mountaineer Impact Fund. It’s a financial bill, but is being created to work towards a Chinese investment in West Virginia for the purpose of petrochemical plants and storage hubs along the Ohio River. The bill made it to 3rd reading in the House and then was moved to the inactive calendar.

Oil & Gas / Wells

HB4088 – Disposition of funds from certain oil and natural gas wells due to unknown or unlocatable interest owners. This bill takes money sitting in county circuit courts due to oil & gas well owners that cannot be located or identified and places it into the Oil and Gas Reclamation Fund to go towards plugging wells. The bill passed House Energy and is now going to House Finance.   

4090 – Creating the Oil & Gas Abandoned Well Plugging Fund reduces the severance tax on low producing wells (5 to 60,000 MCF of gas a day) to 2.5% and dedicates that remaining 2.5% to plugging orphaned wells. This bill passed the House and is in Senate Finance.

Public Lands

SB690 – Relating to Overlanding. This bill creates an Overlanding Recreation Fund and allows groups to create a new trail system on “primitive roads” within state and national parks for full size SUVs, ATVs and UTVs. The bill also permits primitive camping on state lands. We are watching this bill closely, and suspect it to be on the agenda soon in Senate Government Organization.

Rules

HB4217 – These rules were bundled (list here) and include federal updates to Air Quality Standards and also the Mine Subsidence rule. We have two issues with the subsidence rule, the bonding, and the method of how the subsidence remediation is paid. This bundle passed House Judiciary but has not been reported to the floor.

Solar

See the other update in this newsletter for info on Solar!

Waste

HB4443 – Shifting Landfill Closure Fund to Solid Waste Authorities. This bill is a repeat of last year and shifts $1 per ton of waste to the SWAs. It was amended in Gov Org to shift 20 cents each year until it reaches $1 total. The bill passed House Government Organization but was not reported out of committee.

Water

HB4039 – Improving dissemination of boiled water advisories to affected communities. The bill requires water utilities to make customers aware of boiled water advisories through a text and voice alert system by July 2021. This bill passed the House and is in Senate Health and Human Resources

HB4542 / SB678 – Clean Drinking Water Act of 2020! This bill monitors PFAS in water, sets standards, and creates a response team to keep our drinking water clean. The House Bill is in House Health & Human resources and the Senate BIll is Senate Judiciary.

If you have any bills you are watching that we are missing, or any bills you want more information on, please contact Karan (karan.ireland@gmail.com) and Kayla (hellokaylayoung@gmail.com) for assistance!

Reminder – These links are helpful for keeping up with session:

Lastly, if you’re on Twitter, make sure you’re following us (@WVECouncil) and the House (@WVHouse) and Senate (@WVSenate)!

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