CHARLESTON, WEST VIRGINIA – The much anticipated Intrastate Coal and Use Act, House Bill 2554, has been introduced in the West Virginia House of Delegates. The bill, introduced by Delegate Gary G. Howell (R-Mineral), will allow the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to issue coal mining permits for mines that produce coal for West Virginia use only. The bill is designed to protect West Virginia jobs by allowing the WV DEP to issue permits, through exercise of the state’s authority over intrastate commerce. The US EPA, which is given regulatory authority over coal production as part of Federal authority over interstate commerce, has either rejected or not decided on many coal mining permits. All Federal EPA standards are still required for the permit, therefore environment is fully protected.
“We have encountered a federal government agency that wants to put West Virginia out of business and we cannot wait for them to deny or review every coal mine permit, we must act,” said Delegate Gary Howell. “By utilizing our rights enumerated in the United States Constitution, we will make West Virginia a stronger state and a better place to do business. With the EPA overstepping its authority the only course of action is to cut them out of the process. All coal mines will still be required to go through the permitting process but if the coal is only for use in West Virginia the WV DEP will have authority, not the US EPA,” added Delegate Howell.
The bill has been referred to the House Energy, Industry and Labor, Economic Development and Small Business and Judiciary committees and the co-sponsors include: Delegates Linda Sumner (R-Raleigh), Ray Canterbury (R-Greenbrier), Carol Miller (R-Cabell), Kelli Sobonya (R-Cabell), John Ellem (R-Wood), Mitch Carmichael (R-Jackson), Walter Duke (R-Berkeley), Finance Chairman H.K. White (D-Mingo), Economic Development and Small Business Chairman Steve Kominar (D-Mingo) and Rupert Phillips (D-Lincoln).