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WV Environmental Council Rolls Out Citizens’ Energy Plan
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by Vickie Wolfe, WVEC | 2008

A WV Citizens' Energy Plan is produced to counter a pro-coal energy plan from Governor Manchin's administration

Chances are you’re aware that the Manchin administration has developed an energy plan for the state that includes five coal-to-liquid facilities while giving only lip service to renewables and conservation. (If you haven’t read it yet, the governor’s plan is accessible at

Producing liquid fuels from coal is a bad idea for a number of reasons including increased greenhouse gas emissions, the amount of water used, the low efficiency of the process, the uncertainty surrounding carbon capture and storage, the economics, and the increased coal mining that would be called for.

Three public hearings were held—one each in August, September and October—at which many concerned citizens showed up and expressed their concern about coal to liquids. The citizens offered dozens of ideas for a more progressive energy policy. However, those hearings turned out to be a waste of West Virginians’ tax dollars, because none of the public’s input was integrated into the plan.

The WVEC therefore has developed a Citizens’ Energy Plan, which you can read on our website at The goals of the Plan are to 1) reduce greenhouse gas emissions; 2) promote the development of new, economically sustainable businesses and jobs; 3) reduce the United States’ dependence on imported oil; and 4) conserve energy resources and water. We propose that these goals be accomplished through the implementation of energy efficiency and conservation measures, and through the diversification of West Virginia’s energy portfolio to include renewable energy sources. Here are just three of the Plan’s highlights:

More than half the states have adopted Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) that require an increasing amount of electricity to come from renewable generation. We recommend that West Virginia adopt an RPS requiring electric utilities to generate a minimum of 25 percent of their electricity from renewables by 2025.

In order to encourage conservation of gasoline (and thus decrease both greenhouse gas emissions and dependence on foreign oil), we propose that West Virginia’s vehicle registration fee should be based on the vehicle’s fuel economy rather than its value: the lower the fuel economy, the more the owner would have to pay. Those who want gas guzzlers can still have them, but their registration fee would be quite large. Those who own the most efficient vehicles, such as a Toyota Prius, would pay nothing.

We recommend that West Virginia set energy efficiency requirements for new and renovated state buildings.

We hope you’ll contact your legislators and express your support for our Citizens’ Energy Plan, as well as your disapproval of the Manchin administration’s regressive plan.

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