Senate Bill No. 488
(By Senators Stollings, Kirkendoll, Green, D. Hall, Kessler (Mr. President), Unger and Williams)
[Introduced March 8, 2013; referred to the Committee on Energy, Industry and Mining; and then to the Committee on the Judiciary.]
A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new article, designated §61-3F-1, §61-3F-2, §61-3F-3, §61-3F-4 and §61-3F-5, all relating to property crimes committed against coal mines and other industrial facilities; making legislative findings; defining terms; providing for additional criminal penalties for trespass at a coal mine or industrial facility; providing for criminal penalties and restitution for the removal, destruction, injury or defacement of real or personal property belonging to a coal mine or industrial facility; and providing that prosecution for other crimes is not precluded.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended by adding thereto a new article, designated §61-3F-1, §61-3F-2, §61-3F-3, §61-3F-4 and §61-3F-5, all to read as follows:
ARTICLE 3F. OFFENSES INVOLVING COAL MINES AND INDUSTRIAL FACILITIES.
§61-3F-1. Legislative findings.
The Legislature finds that:
(1) Coal mines and other industrial facilities are targeted for a variety of property crimes.
(2) These property crimes cause imminent danger to the health and safety of the public, a coal mine or industrial facility's employees, first responders, law-enforcement officers and utility workers.
(3) These property crimes imperil the lives of those who depend on the products and services provided by the coal mines and other industrial facilities, including communications transmission, electricity transmission and natural resource extraction.
(4) These crimes against property cause hardship for those who operate coal mines and other industrial facilities through lost production or transmission time, repair and/or replacement costs, increased security expenses and other financial burdens not normally associated with operating in the State of West Virginia.
As used in this article:
(1) "Approved access" means access granted to a coal mine or other industrial facility.
(2) "Coal mine" means any mine, preparation plant, loading facility, storage facility, building, complex of buildings, bonded property and associated facilities and apparatus used by the owner of the coal or another for the performance of the act or process of exploring, developing, severing, extracting, reducing to possession, washing, processing, loading for shipment and shipment for sale of any coal or coal product including any reclamation, waste disposal or environmental activities associated with coal production and includes the surface structures or equipment connected or associated therewith which contribute directly or indirectly to the mining, preparation or handling of coal, or construction thereof.
(3) "Imminent danger" means any condition that could hinder or disrupt the normal operation of equipment, systems, or services provided for the health and safety of the public, employees of metal owners, first responders, law enforcement, or utility workers or that cause an interruption in communications services or electric utility services.
(4) "Industrial facility" means:
(A) Any facility that is required to submit a risk management plan to the United States Environmental Protection Agency pursuant to regulations promulgated under Section 112(r) of the Clean Air Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. §7412(r), including the property where the facility is located and any buildings located on the property, including storage facilities; or
(B) A facility that is a factory, mill, plant or refinery, other than a coal facility, including the property upon which a factory, mill, plant or refinery is located and any buildings located on the property, including storage facilities.
(5) "Metal property" means metals as defined in this section as ferrous or nonferrous.
(6) "Person" means any individual, partnership, corporation, joint venture, trust, association or any other legal entity.
(7) “Real or personal property” means and includes at a minimum:
(A) Telecommunications, cable communications or electric power transmission pedestal or pole owned or operated by a telecommunications, cable or electric power company or cooperative, or electric power supplier or railroad.
(B) Telecommunications, cable communications or electric power grounding or any other equipment or materials used in the delivery of electricity, wire, fiber insulator, power supply transformer, ground wire or other apparatus, equipment or fixture used in the transmission of telecommunications, cable communications or electric power owned or operated by a telecommunications, cable or electric power company or cooperative or electric power supplier or railroad.
(C) Equipment used in the transmission or wireless communications or related to wireless communications.
(D) Equipment used at any facility of over the air broadcast companies.
(E) Railroad materials and lading, including, but not limited to, any rail telecommunications, cable communications, power and signal equipment and wires, road or rail crossing signals, equipment and wires, metal property lading being transported by a railroad, and any railroad tracks and other operating materials, including switch component, spike, angle bar, tie plate or bolt of the type used in constructing railroads.
(F) A copper, aluminum, or aluminum-copper condensing or evaporating coil, including its tubing or rods, from a heating or air conditioning unit, excluding scrap from window air conditioning units and automobile condenser coils, unless any one of the following criteria are satisfied:
(i) The condenser coils are being sold by a licensed contractor, HVAC contractor, plumber, or electrician and a current and valid license is provided and copied or scanned by the secondary metals recycler at the time of sale.
(ii) The condenser coils are being sold by a person with verifiable documentation, indicating that the condenser coils are the result of a replacement of an air conditioner unit or condenser coils performed by a licensed contractor.
(G) Utility access covers, manhole covers, or storm drain covers, unless the seller is a company that deals in the manufacture or sale of the aforementioned products.
§61-3F-3. Entry of a coal mine or other industrial facility; penalties.
Notwithstanding the provision of section three, article three-b of this chapter any person who knowingly and without approved access, invitation or license enters or remains on a coal mine or other industrial facility is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be fined not less than $500 nor more than $1,000 and may be required to perform twenty hours in a community corrections program for the first and each subsequent offense. In the event a community corrections program is not available a comparable remedy may be assigned.
§61-3F-4. Removal, injury to and destruction of property; penalties.
If any person removes, destroys, injures or defaces or causes to be removed, destroyed, injured or defaced any real or personal property belonging to a coal mine or other industrial facility, he or she is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, shall be confined to a correctional facility not less than one nor more than three years and fined not less than $5,000 nor more than $10,000, plus the value of full replacement or repair of the property. Upon release from confinement the person is required to perform a minimum of one hundred hours in a community corrections program. If no community corrections program is available a comparable remedy may be assigned.
§61-3F-5. Prosecution under other statutes not prohibited.
This article does not prevent or preclude prosecution pursuant to any other provision of this code.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to provide for protection against property crimes committed against coal mines and other industrial facilities. The bill makes legislative findings. The bill defines terms. The bill provides for additional criminal penalties for trespass at a coal mine or industrial facility. The bill provides for criminal penalties and restitution for the removal, destruction, injury or defacement of real or personal property belonging to a coal mine or industrial facility. The bill provides that prosecution for other crimes is not precluded.
This article is new; therefore, strike-throughs and underscoring have been omitted.