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2010 West Virginia Legislative Wrap-Up
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by Jim Kotcon, Energy Committee Chair | 2010

You mean 'another' disappointing year in the WV legislature??

“A disappointing year for the environment” was an over-riding theme of comments from the West Virginia Environmental Council. At a time when West Virginia needs to rapidly transition to a more diversified economy, legislators seemed unwilling to do anything to risk the wrath of coal.

A few bright spots prevailed: improved landowner notification along future transmission line rights-of-way will be required, and better regulation of oil and gas drilling will be required as a result of new rules approved this session. But comprehensive reform of the Public Service Commission procedures for transmission lines is still needed, as are tighter standards and tougher enforcement of the gas industry.

One of the biggest disappointments was a “Green Buildings” Act to mandate that all future state-funded buildings meet LEED certification standards. A bill was agreed to by WVEC, the WV Manufacturers Association, the WV Forestry Association, and the WV Department of Administration, but Del. Sam Cann (D – Harrison) introduced an amendment to change the word “shall” to “should,” making the bill unenforceable. Since Green Buildings reduce government waste over the long run, this amendment amounts to an endorsement of further government waste. Thanks, Del. Cann!

Other efforts to support renewable energy and energy efficiency also failed to move, as did bills to limit toxic MIC at chemical plants, a “Surface Owners rights” bill, or the Bottle Bill. Meanwhile, the Legislature did adopt resolutions opposing Cap-And-Trade and supporting Mountaintop Removal mines.

A more detailed Legislative Scorecard will be available on the WV Chapter website, or contact Jim Kotcon, 304-594-3322.

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