HOUSE DISTRICT 100
Question #1. During the 2022 session, the Legislature adopted measures to broaden the energy mix in the state to include nuclear and geothermal energy sources (SB 4, HB 4098). Also introduced was a bill to establish an orderly planning and review process for evaluating these and other renewable energy sources for power generation (HB 3239). If similar legislation is introduced in 2023, will you support it?
Yes and No. I would support legislation to provide geothermal energy but I would not support nuclear energy plants unless we reach a point that safety can be guaranteed. I believe renewable energy, properly regulated for safety purposes, will provide a bright future for West Virginia. It will provide jobs, including for coal workers who must find new ways to make a living as coal mining jobs are disappearing. It will provide energy that does not deplete our natural resources including those that attract tourism dollars to our State.
Question #2. During the 2022 session of the Legislature, bills were introduced that would have authorized 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 (HB 2812, HB 2225). CWV supported these bills. If similar legislation is introduced in 2023, will you support it?
Yes. I would support similar legislation. However, I would also want to provide local governments with clear guidance on how these partnerships and districts should be supervised and operated to ensure that citizens concerns, that are sure to arise, are properly addressed. For instance, Jefferson County Commissioners are elected for six-year terms. We must have mechanisms in place to ensure that citizens are heard and issues addressed other than by voting commissioners, who fail to respond to citizen concerns, out of office.
Question #3. During the 2022 session of the Legislature, legislation called the Clean Drinking Water Act of 2022 (HB 4055) was introduced. This legislation would have set maximum contaminant levels for what are called “forever chemicals” — perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in West Virginia drinking water supplies. It would also have created a PFAS Action Response Team to act as an advisory body within DEP, and required reports from facilities using certain PFAS. CWV supported HB 4055. If similar legislation is introduced in 2023, will you support it?
Yes. Forever chemicals are a threat to everyone. At the very least we must have State resources to ensure that these chemicals are kept out of our drinking water.
Question #4. During the 2022 session of the Legislature, legislation was introduced creating a comprehensive system to plug and prevent orphan gas wells in the state and to ensure adequate funding for the effort using well-specific escrow funds set up by the state Treasurer and funded by the operator (HB 4054). CWV supported this legislation. If similar legislation is introduced in 2023, will you support it?
Yes. I would support adequate funding and a comprehensive system to plug and prevent orphan wells.
Question #5. During the 2022 session of the Legislature, legislation was introduced to stabilize and improve the funding for the West Virginia Office of Oil & Gas, which would have enabled it to hire sufficient inspectors to cover the large number of gas wells in the state (HB 2725). The Office is only funded by one-time fees paid with the applications for permits for initial drilling of a well. It now has only one inspector for every 5000 wells. CWV supported this legislation. If similar legislation is introduced in 2023, will you support it?
Yes. Failure to fund inspectors puts everyone at risk. State funding is needed to support the West Virginia Office of Oil & Gas.
Question #6. During the 2022 session of the Legislature, amendments to the Aboveground Storage Tank Act were adopted that weakened the inspection and reporting system for smaller tanks located in the critical zone along streams just above drinking water intakes. CWV opposed this legislation. If legislation is proposed in the 2023 session further weakening the inspection and reporting system for these tanks, will you oppose it?
Yes. I will oppose any and all efforts to weaken our inspection and reporting system. If anything, we need stronger inspections and reporting systems. We should be encouraging storage tank owners to prevent leaks into our water system – not making it easier to miss leaks and the resultant catastrophic results on our drinking water.
Question #7. The West Virginia State Treasurer has announced a policy of using state banking contracts to punish financial institutions who choose to disinvest from fossil fuel industries. During the 2022 session, the Legislature passed SB 262 authorizing the Treasurer to compile a list of such institutions and to exclude them from competing for state banking contracts. CWV opposes this policy because it inappropriately uses coercion in the capital markets and may slow the transition to cleaner energy sources. If further legislation in support of this policy is proposed in the 2023 session, will you oppose it?
Yes. I will oppose policies restricting access to financial institutions based on disinvestment from fossil fuel industries. This reduces financial options for our State and interferes with capital market activities.
Question #8. Currently, no West Virginia State Park or Forest permits off-highway mechanized vehicles, including ATVs. CWV opposes any change to this. If legislation is introduced in the 2023 session to permit mechanized vehicles, including ATVs, in State Parks and Forests, will you oppose it?
Yes. I will oppose it. Our state parks and forests are one or our greatest assets. Mechanized vehicle access to these resources will lead to the destruction of the land as well as reduce the enjoyment of the areas by our citizens and visitors.