By Hannah King & Rob Casto, WVEC Lobby Team
Next Saturday, April 10, is the last day of the WV Legislative Session. We are still watching quite a few bills and there are still important actions to take! Read more below.
HB 2598 is the oil and gas tank exemptions (AKA Aboveground Storage Tank) bill which is still pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Please see the stand-alone article with our new one pager and reach out to your Judiciary members and Chairman Trump (304-357-7880) and let them know you oppose this legislation.
HB 2382 is the DEP rules bundle that includes the Water Quality Standards rule. Please call the Governor’s office (304-558-2000) and encourage the Governor to veto this bill.
HB 2630 requires the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection to pay back fines to political subdivisions if they make required upgrades or fixes in relation to those fines. This passed the House and is now sitting in the Senate Judiciary Committee. There are some concerns with this bill and we want to make sure that our state DEP is enforcing our environmental laws, not the federal EPA.
HB 2667 creates a cost-saving program for state buildings regarding energy efficiency. This bill passed the House and is pending in the Senate Government Organization Committee. Please contact the Senate Government Organization Chairman and encourage him to place this bill on the agenda – (304) 357-7808. We are looking forward to the passage of this bill!
SB 542 encourages continued operation of coal-fired electric plants.The bill requires the WV Public Service Commission to consider all economics related to and involved with decisions involving public utility energy plans; and requires advance notification and approval before coal-fired plants or utilities are closed or sold. It also requires utilities to keep a 30-day fuel supply of coal, which is more than they currently keep. The most concerning aspect of the bill is the legislative findings that will be put into code that may possibly encourage the Public Service Commission to not fund or to neglect renewables in their decision making. The bill is now pending in House Energy and Manufacturing, so please contact the committee to voice your opposition to this bill.
HB 3310, allowing for Power Purchase Agreements, has passed the House and is now pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee. This bill will help create WV jobs and allow citizens to go solar for an affordable price. Please reach out to Chairman Trump and encourage him to place this bill on the agenda!
HR70 which calls for the construction of an licensed off-highway vehicle (OHV) trail to parallel the Appalachian Trail on its western side, is still pending the Senate Committee on Natural Resources. Please keep calling and emailing your opposition to this resolution. Contact the committee at (304) 357-7920 or email Chairman Hamiliton at firstname.lastname@example.org or Vice Chairman Stover at email@example.com
The following bills, as opposed by WVEC and several other groups, were not reported out of committee in time to be considered for passage. Thanks to everyone who called and emailed their concerns to the appropriate members and chairs of the committees.
SB 298, Limiting landowner liability for recreational use of lands.
SB 440, Relating to requirements on abandoned or discontinued state highways or roads.
SB 452, Requiring development of a comprehensive and strategic plan for off-highway vehicle recreation.
SB 453, Creating inventory and mapping of all roads in state forests, state parks, national forests and national parks.
SB 455, Creating a reporting system for illegal gates on public roads.
SB 473, Permitting primitive camping at state campgrounds.
SB709, Establishing Adventure Travel Recreation Program within DNR.
SB 716, Encouraging public access and use of state roads and trails. (NOTE: the provisions of SB716 have been adopted as a study resolution by members of the Senate Finance Committee)
Thank you for all of your hard work this session. Your calls and emails have helped stop the bad bills and have encouraged the good ones to push through. We can’t thank you enough! We will keep you posted on what happens next week, the final week of the WV Legislature.