WVEC Bill Update

We’ve passed crossover day so our list of bills to watch has tightened dramatically. While we have many more bills, these are the most important:

SENATE BILLS ON HOUSE SIDE

SB275 – Creating Intermediate Court of Appeals

This bill creates a new layer of courts below the WV Supreme Court. It costs at least $7 million and will allow for industry to appeal property suits with landowners a SECOND time, among many other things. WV doesn’t need it & e-council opposes. Bill is in House Judiciary

SB329 / HB4217 – Authorizing DEP promulgate legislative rules 

This bill sets the rules for DEP including the mine subsidence rule. BOTH versions are on the House side and 329 has the 120% cap for repair costs and 4217 does not. SB329 was moved to Senate Rules and 4217 is on the Senate floor.

SB583 – Utility Solar Bill

This bill authorizes both utilities to build 200 mW of solar off-site over time. We like the potential of expansion of solar in WV and are working to amend third-party financing into the bill. The bill was laid over on 2nd on Thursday, and on Friday was moved to the inactive calendar. We do NOT think the bill is dead, just that they are trying to find a compromise or whip votes. This bill could be taken up as soon as tomorrow, or held til the last day of session. Time will tell.

SB793 – Relating to B&O taxes imposed on certain coal-fired electric generating units

This bill removes B&O taxes for all coal-fired power plants other than Longview. It’s estimated to cost $16.3 million per year to counties. In House Finance

SB802 – Relating to public utilities generally

This bill is basically a power purchase agreement for large users of natural gas (more than 100 million cubic feet annually), bypassing the PSC. In House Government Organization

SB816 – Updating NAICS code references

This bill updates NAICS codes for various natural gas byproducts. It will provide more tax credits for the natural gas downstream manufacturing. House Floor 3rd Reading on 2/29

SB829 – Establishing Overland Recreation Fund

This bill creates an unfunded overland recreation fund. As is, the bill is okay, but we have been paying close attention to “overlanding” as it often includes driving full size vehicles on public lands, luckily that bill that allowed that was killed earlier in the session. House Finance

SB840 – Creating fee for modifying permits for DEP Office of Oil & Gas

This bill charges oil & gas companies $2500 to make changes to their drilling permits. Currently this is free, and the bill provides more funding for the DEP. We support this bill. House Finance

HOUSE BILLS ON SENATE SIDE

HB4001 – Creating West Virginia Impact Fund

This bill is Speaker Hanshaw’s and passed almost unanimously on the House Floor. We don’t love it because it allows for foreign investment (likely to be for the storage hub & downstream manufacturing). Senate Finance

HB4019 – Downstream Natural Gas Manufacturing Investment Tax Credit Act of 2020

This bill allows for large business and personal income tax credits for new jobs created for downstream manufacturing. We have no idea how much potential revenue we will be giving away to subsidize this industry that has yet to be created. Senate Economic Development

HB4090 – Creating the Oil & Gas Abandoned Well Plugging Fund

This bill creates a fund for plugging abandoned wells, by taking half of the severance tax for low-performing wells. We support!  Senate Floor – 3rd Reading Monday 3/2

HB4429 – Natural Gas Liquids Economic Development Act

This bill is a tax credit for storers and transporters of natural gas. Another bill for the storage hub and downstream manufacturing. Ugh. Senate Economic Development

HB4439 – Clarifying the method for calculating the amount of severance tax attributable to the increase in coal production

This bill recalculates severance tax amounts from JUST thermal coal to Thermal Coal + Met Coal, allowing for more companies to receive the benefits. Senate Finance

HB4574 – Establishing Just Transition support for coal and timber related jobs

This bill establishes an office for communities affected by the coal decline to connect with resources. Senate Workforce

HB4615 – West Virginia Critical Infrastructure Protection Act

This bill is the “anti protest” bill that further criminalizes trespassing and conspiracy to trespass. It is a dangerous ALEC bill that we would like to see not run. Senate Judiciary

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