Happy Session, Everyone!

By Hannah King, WVEC Outreach Coordinator and Lobbyist

The 1st session of the 85th Legislature began on Wednesday, February 10th. Since then, we have seen more than a dozen environmental bills introduced, some good, some not so good. Rob and I are keeping a close eye on everything, but we will need your help the next two months.

The bills we like so far: 

SB 17: Requiring certain disclosures of election expenditures 

SB 30: Permitting third-party ownership of renewable and alternative energy generating facilities

SB 49: Requiring PACs disclose contributors’ names and addresses to Secretary of State 

HB 2102: Relating to required notices for air quality permits prior to the permit being granted

HB 2105: West Virginia Beverage Container Recycling and Litter Control Act 

HB 2228: Assessing the health impact of any new air or water rule, or modification of an existing air or water rule, proposed by the Department of Environmental Protection 

HB 2246: Prohibiting manufacturing plants from locating within two air miles of an existing public school

HB 2249: Permitting customers and developers to enter into solar power purchase agreements 

HB 2287: Providing for solar energy production on formerly mined land 

The bad:

SB 137: DEP rule relating to requirements governing water quality standards. 

The water quality standards rule listed above is one of our main concerns and will affect so many people in our state. We expect to see it be introduced in the House very shortly. We might be able to strengthen this if we all begin contacting legislators and letting them know how weakening 13 toxins in our water supply will harm industries and other businesses in your area. Check out this video fact sheet from WV Rivers Coalition.

Bills are still being introduced, so we will be updating this list as we go. Be on the lookout for action alerts from us and our member groups! Click here to see your legislators and their contact information.

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  1. Thanks to the originators and sponsors of HB2102. If this legislation had been in effect in 2017, we in Jefferson County would not be watching the Danish stinkbomb (Rockwool) going up across the highway from a Title I school. The air quality permit that gave away our rights to healthy clean air was advertised in the classified section of our weekly newspaper on the day before Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, we missed this notification and lost any chance for citizen input. Personally, I believe our WV Development Office is going to the EU and recruiting projects that are too polluting to be licensed in the European Union. There’s not much “protection” in our WV Department of Environmental Protection.

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