Climate

It is pointless to argue about what, or who, caused our planet to begin warming at an alarming rate. The fact is that global warming is real and we can see its effects all around us.

The task for us is to find the right policy solutions that will protect our families and communities and summon the will to make the necessary changes. Imagine how Teddy Roosevelt, who established our national parks, would respond to this situation.

The next generation of West Virginians will likely face the consequences of any hesitancy to act now. The heavy rainfall events and flooding, periods of intense drought, and challenges for agriculture that we see now will get worse unless we get a handle on this problem. And the U.S. military has predicted that a warming planet will create a national security threat because of worldwide instability.

Responding to global warming will not require huge, expensive government programs. It will simply take thoughtful policy, evenhandedly administered, that will produce a reduction of carbon emissions by individuals and businesses. After all, carbon dioxide is nothing more than air pollution and we know how to deal with it. We just need to get busy.

Our Climate Platform

We support legislation that will prioritize planning and preparedness to counter the long-term threat posed by climate change to the health, safety and prosperity of West Virginians.

We support legislation that would require West Virginia to reduce substantially its carbon footprint by 2050 by capping utility emissions, requiring state vehicle fleets to purchase electric and hybrid vehicles, refurbishing state buildings to increase energy efficiency, and other practices.  

We support legislation that will broaden the availability and installation of solar, wind and geothermal energy facilities in West Virginia through use of tax incentives and other means.

We support legislation that authorizes purchase power agreements between West Virginia consumers and non-utility third-party developers to construct and operate alternative energy facilities on the consumer’s property and sell power to the consumer.

2022 Climate Bills

HB 2225

Local Energy Efficiency Partnership Act

The purpose of this bill is to authorize local units of government to adopt local energy efficiency partnership programs and to create districts to promote the use of energy efficiency improvements by owners of certain real property. The bill provides for the financing of such programs through voluntary property assessments, commercial lending, and other means, and authorizes a local unit of government to issue bonds to fund the partnerships.

CWV Position:

Status: Introduced 1/12/22; referred to Government Organization Committee, then Finance

HB 2713

Preservation of Coal Supplies and Coal-Fired Electric Plants

This bill would direct the Public Service Commission West Virginia Public Energy Authority to (1) permit expedited recovery of costs to install pollution control equipment at coal-fired plants, (2) take steps to ensure that the 2019 levels of coal consumption by these plants are maintained, and (3) require each plant to have a 90-day supply of coal. Before any coal-fired plant could shut down, close, or be sold, the unanimous approval of several agencies and the Legislature's Joint Committee on Government and Finance must be obtained.

CWV Position: Opposes

Status: Introduced 1/12/22; referred to Energy Committee

HB 2725

Funding the DEP Office of Oil and Gas

The purpose of this bill is to provide stable and adequate funding to the Office of Oil and Gas of the DEP in order to oversee oil and gas wells' compliance with the law for the life of the wells. The Office currently is only funded by one-time fees generated by the applications for the permits for initial drilling of a well. It only has a reduced staff of 25 including only one inspector for every 5000 wells. The bill provides the funding by requiring an annual oversight fee of $100 for each well that is to be used for the functions of the Office of Oil and Gas with any excess to be used to plug orphaned wells.

CWV Position: Supports

Status: Introduced 1/12/22; referred to Energy Committee

HB 2812

Local Energy Efficiency Partnership Act

The purpose of this bill is to authorize local units of government to adopt local energy efficiency partnership programs and to create districts to promote the use of energy efficiency improvements by owners of certain real property; to provide for the financing of such programs through voluntary property assessments, commercial lending, and other means; to authorize a local unit of government to issue bonds.

CWV Position: Supports

Status: Introduced 1/12/22; referred to Government Organization, then Finance Committees

HB 2882

Repealing Ban on Construction of Nuclear Power Plants

Seeks to repeal the limited ban on nuclear power in WV, which requires a showing (1) that there is a national facility that safely and permanently disposes of nuclear waste and has operated for 24 months, (2) that the construction of the new nuclear facility will be economically feasible for West Virginia rate payers, and (3) the proposed facility will comply with all applicable environmental protection laws.

CWV Position: Opposes

Status: Introduced 1/12/22; referred to Energy Committee; 1/21/22 referred to Government Organization Committee; 1/28/22 referred out to House on second reading; second reading 2/7/22

HB 3062

Limiting Wind Power Projects in West Virginia

The purpose of this bill is to limit the number of permits to construct wind power projects, wind power farms, or “windmills” for power to two per year, to provide that for each new wind powered facility built in West Virginia, there must be an offset in the amount of taxes paid by new and existing coal fired power plants. The bill also seeks to ensure that coal remains the primary source of power in West Virginia during emergency weather events.

CWV Position: Opposes

Status: Introduced 1/12/22; referred to Energy and Manufacturing Committee

HB 3239

WV Energy Diversity Act

Establishing an orderly and comprehensive planning and review process for evaluating and developing renewable energy sources for power generation that will employ West Virginians and transition to a post-coal economy. Renewables include solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, and others. The bill establishes achievable targets for diversifying West Virginia’s energy production utilizing West Virginia resources. It authorizes a study commission to monitor progress towards achieving those goals.

Sponsors: John Doyle

CWV Position: Supports

Status: Introduced 1/12/22; referred to Energy and Manufacturing Committee

HB 4098

Geothermal Energy Development

This bill creates a structure for the development of geothermal energy in West Virginia by identifying geothermal energy as a “different resource” than other mineral resources and declaring that that no mineral estate will include geothermal energy unless specifically contained in the deed. The jurisdiction over geothermal energy is placed with the DEP to develop a permitting program for geothermal drilling and exploration and rules governing the use of spent geothermal fluid.

CWV Position: Supports

Status: Introduced 1/17/22; referred to Energy and Manufacturing Committee, then to Judiciary; referred to House Judiciary 1/27/22; passed out of Judiciary to the full House 2/7/22; introduced in Senate 2/11/22, referred to Energy Industry and Mining Committee, then Judiciary 2/11/22

HB 4483

Requiring Registration and Limiting Duration of Carbon Offset Agreements

This bill would require agreements between West Virginia landowners and outside firms limiting development on that land for carbon offset purposes to register the agreements with the WV Tax Commissioner. It declares it the public policy of the state to encourage land development and timber harvesting. It limits carbon offset agreements that would impede that development to 40 years.

CWV Position: Opposes

Status: Introduced 2/1/22, referred to Energy and Manufacturing committee, then Finance; Committee substitute introduced 2/8/11; substitute bill passed out of committee 2/9/22; first reading 3/12/22

HB 4491

Carbon Sequestration Pilot Program

The purpose of this bill is to establish a new legal and regulatory framework for drilling of injection wells and operation of facilities for the underground sequestration of injected carbon dioxide and for the state to pursue primacy authorization for oversight and enforcement of laws for underground carbon dioxide sequestration. The bill creates safety requirements for all sequestration of carbon injected into underground cavities and establishes liability for accidents.

Sponsors: John Hott, Wayne Clark

CWV Position:

Status: Introduced 1/31/22; referred to Energy and Manufacturing Committee, then Judiciary; committee substitute 2/21/22; passed House 2/24/22; no committee referral; passed Senate 3/1/22; sent to Governor 3/17/22

SB 19

Repealing Additional Registration Fees for Alternative Fuel Vehicles

The bill would repeal WV Code 17a-10-3c imposing additional registration fees for hybrid and electric vehicles.

CWV Position:

Status: Introduced 1/12/22; referred to Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, then Finance Committee

SB 4

Repealing Ban on Construction of Nuclear Power Plants

The purpose of this bill is to repeal the law that bans construction of nuclear power plants. Similar in effect to HB 2882.

CWV Position: Opposes

Status: Introduced 1/12/22; referred to Economic Development Committee; 1/24/22 to Senate on second reading; 1/28/22 sent to House for second reading; passed by House sent to Governor; 2/8/22 approved by Governor.

SB 56

Creating Orphan Oil and Gas Well Prevention Act

This bill would require operators to make financial assurances for plugging before a new well permit is issued and assigns responsibility as between current and former owners for plugging transferred wells that have developed leaks or have contaminated groundwater.

Sponsors: Randy Smith

CWV Position: Supports

Status: Introduced 1/12/22; referred to Energy, Industry and Mining Committee