By Karan Ireland
It’s great to be back under the dome–except: there is no dome! At least not one we can see from inside the building. There is no standing around the well, eavesdropping on conversations between committee meetings this year, as the rotunda undergoes repairs. But, your new lobby team is carving out our space as we work in pursuit of the 2019 WVEC legislative priorities.
Those priorities include:
- Water protection including updating state water quality standards with EPA recommended human health criteria
- Advance renewable energy options including Power Purchase Agreements (PPA)
- Protecting public lands, including prohibiting commercial logging in State Parks to preserve the integrity and intent of State Parks
- Promote the WV Future Fund; ensure that extractive industries pay severance tax to the fund
- Election law updates: working with the WV Clean Elections Coalition and OVEC leadership
- Oil and gas issues including the Appalachian storage trading hub, orphaned wells, and health study of fracking regions.
Ben, Kayla, and I have been making the rounds on the WVDEP rules bills since those are going to be run through the Senate during the first two weeks. (See more about the Water Quality Standards rule elsewhere in this newsletter.) Please keep your eyes open for action alerts on the rules bills; they will move quickly!
We’ve also been working with coalition partners West Virginians for Energy Freedom on the Power Purchase Agreements. To learn more about how you can help with that, please visit the coalition website.
A bit of good news as it relates to our priorities: we have every reason to believe that the terrible idea of logging in state parks is NOT something we are going to be dealing with this session. Word in the halls is that the Governor wants nothing to do with it, DNR doesn’t want to bring it back, and likewise for legislators. We’ll let you know if that changes!