by Jim Kotcon, Energy Committee Chair |
PATH has generated some bills in the WV Legislature. Even the Governor tried to get into the act with a bogus electricity transmission tax bill!
The Legislature considered several bills during the 2009 session related to PATH. Some would increase compensation to local landowners, or alter the make-up of the PSC (although it is not clear how either of these approaches would improve the situation). The Sierra Club (through WVEC) supported HB 2887, sponsored by Delegates Fleischauer, Staggers, Lawrence, Manypenny, Susman, Tabb, Talbott, and Doyle. HB 2887 would have required notification of affected landowners, require the PSC to consider indirect impacts and greenhouse gas emissions, protect designated scenic areas, and require that any line approved would be balanced against the power needs of West Virginia consumers.
Governor Manchin sought legislation to create a transmission tax, although it seems likely this would have been an unconstitutional tax on interstate commerce, and the tax would further increase costs to ratepayers and profits to the utilities. For better or worse, none of the bills passed, but we owe a big thanks to those Delegates willing to sponsor legislation that would actually fix the problems.
What You Can Do:
1. Stay Informed. Fact sheets and news items are on the Chapter web page .
2. Write Letters of Protest to the PSC. Address to: Sandra Squire, Executive Secretary, West Virginia Public Service Commission, 201 Brooks St., Charleston, WV 25301. Be sure to state “Letter of Protest” and the Case Number 09-0770-E-CN.
3. Attend Public Hearings. Watch for one scheduled near you. Bring your friends, neighbors, family and co-workers. Tell the PSC that we do not want PATH.
4. Write to local political leaders. Send thank yous to those legislators who helped us, and ask others to reform the PSC. Write to our Congressional Delegation and ask them to amend the federal incentives that unfairly impose these transmission lines where they are neither needed or wanted.
5. Donate. Funds are needed to pay legal expenses and for expert witnesses. The Chapter needs to raise at least $10,000 for this effort, and possibly much more. Make checks payable to The Sierra Club Foundation with a memo that they are intended for PATH. These donations are tax deductible. Mail to PO Box 4152, Morgantown, WV 26504. 6. Contact the Energy Committee, (Jim Kotcon 304-594-3322 firstname.lastname@example.org) to help or for more info.
Yes, that is a lot to do, but this is a very important issue for West Virginia, and your help is essential.