Land and Wildlife

How we treat our own property says a lot about us as individuals. How our government makes land use decisions and how it regulates what industry and developers are permitted to do speaks volumes about what kind of state we are and can be.

Preserving farmland and forests, as well as parks and recreation areas, is important for our lives now and for future generation. It is also critical for the habitat of birds, wildlife and fish.

Our public officials frequently make choices on our behalf that will shape the world we and all other creatures live in. By making our voices heard on land use issues, we plan to help them make the right choices.

Our Land and Wildlife Platform

We support hunting, fishing, rafting and other outdoor recreation activities that are compatible with wildlife habitat and create no lasting environmental damage.

We oppose commercial logging in state parks and forests.

We oppose mountaintop removal mining.

We support the right of local governments and municipalities to regulate consumer packaging within their jurisdictions, including plastic bags, straws, styrofoam containers, and the like.

2022 Land and Wildlife Bills

HB 2105

West Virginia Beverage Container Recycling and Litter Control Act

The purpose of this bill is to require the use of returnable containers for soft-drinks, soda water, carbonated natural or mineral water, other nonalcoholic carbonated drinks and for beer, ale, or other malt drinks of any alcoholic content and for certain other beverage containers; to require the use of unredeemed bottle deposits.

Sponsors: John Doyle

CWV Position: Supports

Status: Introduced 1/12/22; referred to Workforce Development 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 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 4054

Orphan Well Prevention Act of 2022

Requires an operator to provide plugging money escrow funds when applying for new permits or when transferring ownership of a well. No new well permit would be issued to an operator of other wells that have not been in use for 12 consecutive months unless the operator provides certain assurances or places plugging funds into escrow. Plugging money must be set aside by operators of producing wells. In order to obtain a permit to drill a new well, the driller must agree to plug all orphaned wells in the leased area that will be drained by the new drilling.

CWV Position: Supports

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

HB 4084

Amending Solid Waste Management Act to Cover Recycling of Post-Use Polymers

Would permit the construction and operation of plants to convert post-use plastics sorted from other solid waste into smaller particles through heating and other processes. Intended products are simpler plastics, waxes, lubricants, and coatings

CWV Position:

Status: Introduced 1/14/22; referred to Small Business Committee, then to Energy and Manufacturing; passed unanimously in House 2/8/22; sent to Senate and referred to Economic Development Committee 2/9/22; committee amendment 2/28/22; passed Senate 3/1/22; House concurred in Senate version 3/3/22; sent to Governor 3/9/22

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 4408

Enlarging Authority to Enter Into Development Contracts for State Parks and Forests

This bill would enlarge the authority of the Director of DNR to enter third-party contracts for the development of recreation facilities at any state park or forest to a total of 40 years. The Director's present authority is for contracts totaling 20 years and is limited to six state parks. The new authority is limited to facilities that are in accordance with the purposes and authority granted to the DNR's Section of Parks and Recreation. A public hearing must be conducted before a contract is issued. No specific type of facility is prohibited. Watoga State Park is exempted.

CWV Position: Opposes

Status: Original bill introduced 1/26/22, referred to Agriculture and Natural Resources committee, then Government Organization; sent to Government Organization Committee 2/17/22; substitute bill originated by Government Organization Committee 2/21/22; substitute bill passed out of committee 2/23/22; passed Senate with amendment 3/12/22; passed House in amended form 3/12/22; sent to Governor 3/17/22

HB 4452

Safe Composting of Organic Waste

The bill would amend the Solid Waste Management Act to add procedures for separating organic food wastes from non-organic wastes and to compost that waste safely. The DEP would be charged with creating legislative rules governing the process. The bill would also require the curbside pickup of organic wastes.

CWV Position: Supports

Status: Introduced 1/31/22; referred to Health and Human Resources Committee, then Government Organizations

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 117

Assessing Wildlife Impact Fee on Wind Power Projects

Authorizing DNRF to assess a wildlife replacement fee on operators of wind power projects that kill protected avian species, such as eagles, owls, etc.

Sponsors: Randy Smith

CWV Position: Supports

Status: Introduced 1/12/22; referred to Natural Resources Committee

SB 161

Prohibiting Natural Resources Commission from Establishing Bag Limit for Antlered Deer

Prohibiting Natural Resources Commission from making any rule creating a bag limit for antlered deer of three or more.

CWV Position: Supports

Status: Introduced 1/12/22; referred to Natural Resources Committee

SB 485

Enlarging Authority to Enter Into Development Contracts for State Parks and Forests

Similar to HB 4408, this bill would enlarge the authority of the Director of DNR to enter third-party contracts for the development of recreation facilities at any state park or forest to a total of 50 years. The Director's present authority is for contracts totaling 20 years and is limited to six state parks. Unlike HB 4408, this bill has no limits on the purposes for which the Director may contract for new facilities. No specific type of facility is prohibited. .

CWV Position: Opposes

Status: Original bill introduced 1/25/22, referred Natural Resources committee, then Finance; substitute bill originated by Natural Resources committee 2/23/22; sent to Finance committee 2/23/22