Senate Bill No. 96
(By Senators Oliverio, Tomblin, Mr. President, Craigo,
Buckalew, Kessler, Minear, Sprouse, Kimble, Ball, Ross, Dittmar,
Anderson, Sharpe, Walker, Dugan, Love, McKenzie, Schoonover and
[Introduced January 14, 1998; referred to
the Committee on Small Business; and then
to the Committee on Finance.]
A BILL to amend chapter twenty-two of the code of West Virginia,
one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, by adding
thereto a new article, designated article twenty-three,
relating to creating a revolving low-interest environmental
loan program for small businesses; establishing eligibility,
qualifications, requirements, conditions, terms and
processing procedures; providing program funding; and
setting forth legislative findings and intent.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That chapter twenty-two of the code of West Virginia, one
thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, be amended by adding thereto a new article, designated article twenty-three, to
read as follows:
ARTICLE 23. SMALL BUSINESS ENVIRONMENTAL LOAN PROGRAM.
§22-23-1. Legislative findings, intent and purpose.
The Legislature hereby finds and declares that, in this
state the protection and improvement of the environment, and the
sustainability of small businesses, would be collectively
enhanced by the establishment of a revolving low-interest small
business environmental loan program, to provide partial relief
from the burden small businesses face from compliance with
existing and new state and federal environmental protection rules
and regulations. The Legislature intends, in providing such a
loan program for small businesses, that the program will further
enable small businesses to aggressively comply with or exceed
environmental obligations and requirements and thereby continue
as a positive economic force in the state of West Virginia.
As used in this article, the following words have the
meanings ascribed to them.
(a) "Authority" means the West Virginia economic development
authority established in article fifteen, chapter thirty-one of
(b) "Director" means the director of the West Virginia division of environmental protection.
(c) "Division" means the West Virginia division of
environmental protection as established in article one of this
(d) "Eligible borrower" means a small business as defined in
subsection (g) of this section that:
Is required or needs to conduct a qualifying environmental
project as defined in subsection (f) of this section.
An eligible borrower also means a small business that
desires to refinance the remaining balance of a debt that was
incurred between the first day of January, one thousand nine
hundred ninety-two, and the effective date of this article, and
that meets, or would have met, at the time of the original loan
application, the requirements of this subsection. The
refinancing option is not available for applications received by
the authority more than two years after the effective date of
this article. Funds available for refinanced loans may not, at
any time, exceed forty percent of the total funds available plus
the outstanding balance of funded loans.
(e) "Environmental project" means:
(1) Any environmental equipment purchases and installations
(2) Any associated transportation, technical or consulting
services for installation or modification of environmental equipment;
(3) Any equipment, purchase and installation necessary to
effect a process change that in the director's judgement yields
significant environmental benefits; or
(4) Any combination of subdivision (1), (2) or (3) of this
(f) "Qualifying environmental project" means an
environmental project as described in subsection (e) of this
section that is to be undertaken at a location in West Virginia
and used for the purpose of:
(1) Effecting pollution elimination, minimization,
prevention, recycling or abatement measures;
(2) Improving conditions or operations environmentally or
substantially improving compliance with local, city, state,
interstate or federal rules, regulations or laws pertaining to
the environment and human health; or
(3) Purchasing equipment to establish environmental
information, computing, consulting or laboratory services.
(g) "Small business" means a business that:
(1) Is properly registered with the appropriate agencies to
do business in this state;
(2) Is actively conducting business in this state;
(3) Is current with all workers' compensation and
unemployment premiums and all local, county and state taxes; and
(4) Employs less than fifty full-time employees as defined
in subsection (h) of this section within the entire company,
business or corporation inside and outside this state.
(h) "Total number of full-time employees" means all full- time employees, plus all part-time employees counted as full-time
employee equivalents, plus all full and part-time equivalent
employees providing any type of service by contract or by any
§22-23-3. Loan application requirements.
(a) Any eligible small business may apply for a small
business environmental loan by submitting two identical copies of
an application to the authority, on forms provided by the
(b) The director shall determine environmental program
qualification as provided by section two of this article, and
based on the following factors:
(1) Pertinent environmental benefits of the project,
including expected eliminations or reductions of regulated
pollutants, solid wastes, hazardous wastes and in the use of
toxic and hazardous chemicals, as well as expected benefits from
recycling programs, and pollution prevention measures;
(2) The degree of compliance with applicable environmental
rules, regulations, laws and statutes; and
(3) Borrower's past environmental compliance performance, including history of compliance, violations, permitting
difficulties and reporting record.
§22-23-4. Loan conditions.
A loan made to an eligible borrower as provided by this
(a) Have an interest rate not to exceed one half of the
federal prime interest rate, but in no case may the annual rate
be less than four percent;
(b) Have repayment terms not to exceed ten years;
(c) Have collateral terms acceptable to the authority; and
(d) Be in an amount of not less than five thousand dollars
nor more than one hundred fifty thousand dollars; but in no case
may the amount exceed ninety percent of the cost of the project.
§22-23-5. Small business environmental revolving loan account.
The small business environmental revolving loan account is
hereby established in the authority and will be made available
for environmental loans defined by this article for any type of
qualifying environmental project. Loans may be issued only
during the five-year period commencing on the effective date of
this article unless the time period is otherwise extended by the
Legislature. The administration of this loan program is
authorized for one year beyond the last payment date for any
The environmental revolving loan account shall be funded by appropriations from the Legislature and, at the director's
discretion, by using portions of penalties and fines that are
collected from various sources, including violators that
economically benefited by noncompliance: Provided, That the
maximum value of all active outstanding loans, combined with
funds in reserve at any time, may not exceed five million
Interest income from the small business environmental loan
program as well as appropriations from the Legislature shall be
used to defray the operating costs of the program, including, but
not limited to, administration, facilities, salaries and travel.
Any excess interest income shall be used to reestablish the loan
program to its maximum authorized limit of five million dollars,
with additional excesses returned to the state's general revenue
account. If interest income is not projected to provide the
necessary operating funds for all aspects of the small business
environmental loan program for any one year, the authority shall
request the necessary funding in the annual budget request.
§22-23-6. Loan processing.
The authority shall: (a) Process small business
environmental loan applications and assure that a copy is
forwarded to the director for eligibility review; (b) confirm
that the director has certified the environmental acceptability
of the project; (c) verify the borrower's eligibility as provided by section two of this article; (d) evaluate the borrower's
financial stability, needs and ability to repay based upon an
appropriate examination of financial information, including, but
not limited to, income and credit histories, income tax returns,
financial statements and collateral offered to secure the loan;
(e) process loans for payments; and (f) establish loan processing
procedures that include, but are not limited to, loan approvals,
accounting, authorizations for payments, loan repayments and
auditing of the small business environmental loan program. The
authority shall implement reporting requirements that include the
total number of full-time employees of the loan recipient on the
thirtieth day of September of each calendar year for the term of
The authority shall act upon loan requests within forty-five
days of receipt of a complete application as determined by the
(NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to establish the small
business environmental loan program.
This article is new; therefore, strike-throughs and
underscoring have been omitted.)
SMALL BUSINESS COMMITTEE AMENDMENT
On page ____, section two, line ____, by striking out the
words "all local, county and".