WVEC Weekly Round-Up

By Isabel Stellato and Lucia Valentine, WVEC Lobbyists

SB 532 – The Orphaned Well prevention Act 

The Orphaned Well Prevention Act, SB 532, was introduced on January 23 in the Senate. The bill is sponsored by Senators Smith, Stover, and Caputo, and will run in the Energy, Industry, and Mining Committee before going to Senate Finance. SB 532 requires operators of oil and gas wells in WV to set aside money for future well plugging so that the cost does not fall on taxpayers or landowners – check out our fact sheet to learn more about the bill and why we need it. We will continue to track the bill as it moves through committees and will provide important updates as they arise.

What you can do: Tell your senators to support the Orphaned Well Prevention Act!

Net Metering – PSC Rate Case Public Hearing

On Monday, Jan. 22, we listened in on a Public Service Committee (PSC) public hearing regarding the net-metering credit cut proposed by Mon power and Potomac Edison. Each of the several dozen speakers were against the proposal to slash the credit ratio, which is 1:1 under current WV law, in half. If the PSC decides in favor of the utilities, West Virginians will be severely discouraged from participating in net metering and community solar. 

What you can do: Tell the PSC to oppose the decision and keep net metering strong in WV! Click here to fill out a template letter to send to the PSC. 

To learn more about net metering in WV, click here for information from Solar United Neighbors and here for additional resources on our site.

SB 171 – Prohibiting county commissions from adopting authorization that exceeds state law regarding agriculture operations

SB 171 was fast tracked through the Senate and introduced in the House on January 15 with a single reference to the House Government Organization Committee. This bill aims to restrict county commissions from adopting ordinances or regulations that exceed state laws concerning agricultural operations, which could pose several threats to local autonomy. This bill also has environmental implications. If state laws are less stringent around the use of pesticides, for example, local communities would not be able to enforce stricter regulations to protect their public health, air quality, and water quality. 

What you can do: Click here to send an email to House Government Organization members and urge them to REJECT SB 171.

|HB 5018 – To provide for the Department of Environmental Protection oversight and authority governing community air monitoring programs. 

HB 5018 was introduced in the House this week with a single reference to the House Energy and Manufacturing Committee. 

This bill asserts that data collected from purple air monitors cannot be used by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection for regulatory or attainment purposes, which would have a chilling effect on citizen monitoring. Citizen air monitoring plays a crucial role in engaging citizens and supplementing data gathered by government agencies including the EPA and the DEP. This engagement can lead to informed decision-making, advocacy for improved air quality regulations, and community-driven initiatives to reduce pollution.

What you can do: Complete this action alert to encourage the House Energy and Manufacturing Committee to REJECT HB 5018. 

Community Solar 

After talking to senators this week about the benefits of bringing community solar to West Virginia, we are awaiting the introduction of a community solar bill in the Senate. We will continue to monitor the bill’s movement and provide updates along the way. If you’re interested in learning more about community solar, click here for information from WV Solar United Neighbors (SUN). And here on our website. 

What you can do: Call your senators and urge them to support community solar now. Find your representative here. You can also email your legislators using this form from SUN.

To contact our lobby team, email isabelrstellato@gmail.com

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