By Luanne McGovern
The regular session of the 87th Legislature will kick off on January 10, 2024, and will run for 60 days. There will undoubtedly be many twists and turns, suspension of constitutional rules, and introduction of many concerning bills. In conjunction with the West Virginia Environmental Council and other partner organizations, we will be focusing on the following key legislative priorities in 2024:
Net Metering: Protect and preserve long-standing net metering rules to ensure all solar users are entitled to the existing fair market retail rate. For a detailed explanation, see the November 2023 Voice article by John McFerrin. To learn more, visit West Virginians for Energy Freedom.
Orphaned Gas Well Responsibility: Require bonds to be set before drilling begins to cover plugging costs for gas wells that are abandoned or orphaned. This is a huge issue across the state. You can learn more and take action here.
Community Solar: Promote access to affordable renewable energy through a solar facility subscription service. Customers can purchase an interest in a solar facility to use credits against their electric utility costs. Watch a webinar here.
State of West Virginia Rivers Designation: Urge legislators to adopt a West Virginia Scenic Rivers bill for our state’s rivers. There is currently only one river in West Virginia with this designation – the Bluestone National Scenic River in the southern part of the state. To learn more about the National Wild and Scenic River System, visit The National Wild & Scenic Rivers System | Rivers.gov
In addition, we will be monitoring and acting on numerous other issues as bills arise:
- Continuation of Off-Road Vehicle restrictions on public lands
- Any changes to the above-ground storage tank legislation
- Expansion of nuclear power in West Virginia
- New developments with the proposed Hydrogen Hub and carbon sequestration
- Working towards introducing a PFAS ban
Be sure you are signed up to receive action alerts from the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy via email to keep up with the legislative session and contact your legislators as needed. You can sign up here: https://bit.ly/WVHCemailsignup
Want to get involved with the Legislative Committee? Contact Luanne McGovern, Legislative Committee Chair by email at email@example.com