West Virginia needs to develop new housing and infrastructure, and industrial sites that can employ us into the future.

As we have seen in Jefferson County recently, government decisions about industrial development have tended to overvalue speculative promises about jobs and undervalue public concerns about air and water pollution and long-term community well-being.

West Virginia needs to develop new housing and infrastructure, and industrial sites that can employ us into the future. But these development decisions must be balanced and sensitive to their environmental consequences and to public health issues. Our government should not be permitted automatically to put public concerns about conservation in second place behind the quest for more jobs.

Our Development Platform

We support legislation that will require the DEP to hold an air quality permit public hearing for any large new industrial facility in the county where the facility is to be located.

We support requiring new heavy industrial facilities to be strictly located in special zones set aside by counties for such industry after public input, taking account of pre-existing land use, the location of other industry and infrastructure, environmental conditions, and the location of schools and cultural sites.      

2023 Development Bills

HB 2022

Restricting Gas Well Locations

Currently, gas wells may not be located within 650 feet of an occupied dwelling structure. This bill would expand the restricted area to 2,500 feet.

CWV Position: Supports

Status: Introduced 1/11/23, referred to Energy and Manufacturing

HB 2059

Amend Rural Industrial Site Development Act

The purpose of this bill is to remove minimum size restrictions and maximum number of sites permitted in the West Virginia Business Ready Sites Program together with the removing the requirement that the program be a pilot program.

CWV Position:

Status: Introduced 1/11/23, referred to Economic Development & Tourism

HB 2459

Exempting Wholesale Power Generation Facilities from Zoning

This bill would exempt non-utility wholesale power generators, such as solar farms, from the reach of zoning laws in the state. It would make these generators approved uses in any zoning district.

Sponsors: Wayne Clark

CWV Position: Opposes

Status: Introduced 1/11/23, referred to Judiciary

HB 2552

Disclosure of Purpose for Permit Application

This bill would require an applicant for a DEP permit to state clearly the lawful purpose for the permit to provide the public with notice.

CWV Position: Supports

Status: Introduced 1/13/23, referred to Energy and Manufacturing then Judiciary

HB 2896

Regulation and Storage of Radioactive Waste Materials and Radon Prevention

This statute would do too much to summarize adequately. It replaces current statutes regarding licensing of radon testers and laboratories. It adds a new statute regarding periodic testing of x-ray machines. It adds a statute on radon prevention in new school construction. It adds a Radiation Control Act which would bring state regulation into line with the federal government and many other states. The bill would promote the uses of radioactive material in the state for peaceful purposes. It would not apply to any facilities regulated by the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The DEP is designated as the State Radiation Control Agency, with a a lengthy list of duties and rulemaking responsibility. The DEP is given eminent domain authority to acquire land for ionizing radiation control projects, and to convey this land to private commercial interests for scientific facilities and "nuclear storage areas." The DEP would also assume responsibility for regulating the perpetual custody of radioactive material at any private site where the owner has abandoned responsibility. The DEP would be charged with developing regulations concerning all radioactive material not under the jurisdiction of the federal NRC, and for licensing, among other things, the storage of this material.

Sponsors: John Hott

CWV Position: Opposes

Status: Introduced 1/20/23, referred to Energy and Manufacturing then Judiciary; then to Finance 2/2/23; committee substitute passed House 2/15/23; to Senate Economic Development Committee 2/20/23; committee amendment

HB 3294

Excise Tax on Carbon Offset Agreements

The bill declares that any agreement to limit the development of land, minerals or timber for the purpose of carbon sequestration or carbon offsets longer than 20 years will be void, and imposes an excise tax on the proceeds from any such agreement of shorter duration.

CWV Position: Opposes

Status: Introduced 2/3/23, referred to Energy and Manufacturing, then Finance; passed to Finance with amendment 2/8/23

SB 162

Leasing State-Owned Pore Spaces for Carbon Sequestration

This bill authorizes the leasing and development of state-owned "pore spaces" underlying state forests, natural and scenic areas and wildlife management areas for the purpose of carbon sequestration. State parks are excluded. Leasing would be to the highest auction bidder. The Director of DNR can award leases without competitive bidding under certain circumstances.

CWV Position: Opposes

Status: Introduced 1/12/23, committee reference dispensed with, passed Senate unanimously 1/12/23, sent to House, referred to Judiciary, passed with amendment and made effective from passage 1/19/23; approved by Governor 1/24/23

SB 188

Grid Stabilization and Security Act of 2023

This bill would direct all state agencies to streamline their procedures to make the generation of electricity from natural gas easier, and direct the Secretary of Economic Development to locate appropriate sites for the construction of generating plants, providing several criteria. It would set time limits to expedite any application for a siting certificate before the PSC and other permits required for the construction of a generating facility.

Sponsors: Charles Trump

CWV Position: We support natural gas generation, but not expedited approval of sites based on narrow criteria.

Status: Introduced 1/13/23; referred to Economic Development; committee substitute bill 1/26/23; passed Senate 2/1/23; sent to House 2/1/23, referred to Economic Development & Tourism; passed out to full House 2/16/23; amended 3/2/23; passed House 3/3/23; approved by Governor 3/28/23

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