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.

2021 Climate Bills

HB 2199

Intrastate Coal and Use Act

Exempts coal mined or used within the borders of West Virginia from federal environmental regulation.

Sponsors: Gary G. Howell

CWV Position: Opposes

Status: Introduced 2/10/21; referred to Energy & Manufacturing Committee

HB 2249

Permitting Customers and Developers to Enter Into Solar Power Purchase Agreements

Defines purchase power agreements and recites benefits of those agreements to customers. Permits customers and developers to enter into PPAs as of January 1, 2022 on terms and conditions acceptable to all parties. Requires the Public Service Commission to propose governing rules for legislative approval.

CWV Position:

Status: Introduced 2/10/21; referred to Energy & Manufacturing Committee

HB 2287

Providing For Solar Energy Production on Formerly Mined Land

Encouraging solar energy development on lands formerly used for mining and certain third-party co-generation projects, providing electricity for commercial, industrial and manufacturing businesses or institutions of higher education or nonprofit organizations that are located in or will locate operations in West Virginia; authorizing the Public Service Commission to regulate the use of transmission and distribution lines to transport power from these facilities; providing that the solar operations and third-party co-generation projects are not regulated as a utility for providing electricity to these businesses; and authorizing the issuance of renewable energy certificates for renewable energy generated by eligible solar projects.

CWV Position: Supports

Status: Introduced 2/10/21; referred to Energy & Manufacturing Committee

HB 2667

Energy Savings Program for State-Owned Buildings

Creates model, standardized contracts and prequalification for contractors performing energy savings work. Creates energy savings program to reduce energy use from all sources in state-owned buildings by 25% below 2020 levels by 2030, and creates benchmarking program to measure progress.

Sponsors: John Hardy, Wayne Clark

CWV Position:

Status: Introduced in House 2/23/21; referred to Energy and Manufacturing Committee 2/23/21; referred to Finance Committee 3/12/21; passed House 3/30/21; introduced in Senate 3/31/21 and referred to Government Organization Committee; referred to Finance Committee 4/6/21; passed Senate 4/10/21.

HB 3310

Purchase Power Agreements for Solar Installations on Private Property

This bill exempts certain solar energy facilities located on private property from the definition of public utility and permits the power generated from these facilities to be leased or sold to the retail electric customer to meet that customer's needs through purchase power agreements. The bill creates a cap on such power generation in the territory any one public utility of 3% of the utility's aggregate customer peak demand.

CWV Position:

Status: Originated in House Judiciary Committee 3/26/21; passed House 3/31/21; introduced in Senate 4/1/21; referred to Senate Judiciary Committee 4/1/21; passed Senate 4/8/21; House concurs in Senate amendment and passed bill 4/8/21

SB 30

Third-party Ownership of Renewable or Alternative Energy Generating Facilities

Makes legislative findings supporting private ownership of alternative energy generating systems, and the desirability of not treating these owners as public utilities. Creates an exception to the definition of public utilities for companies owning renewable and alternative energy generation facilities located on the customer’s property and designed to meet the customer’s electrical needs that are (1) leased to the customer, or (2) the power from which is sold to the customer through a power-purchase agreement.

Sponsors: Charles Trump

CWV Position: Supports

Status: Introduced 2/10/21; referred to Economic Development Committee

SB 94

Repealing additional registration fees for alternative fuel vehicles

The additional registration fee for alternative fuel vehicles, designed to even the cost of road maintenance among all types of vehicles, would be repealed. CWV Position: Opposes. While making alternative fuel vehicles more attractive is desirable, this bill creates environmental justice issues because it shifts the cost of road maintenance to those who may not be able to afford alternative fuel vehicles

CWV Position: Opposes

Status: Introduced 2/10/21; referred to Transportation & Infrastructure Committee