W.Va. Senate passes repeal of energy portfolio law

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The West Virginia state Senate passed its first piece of legislation by repealing an energy portfolio on Wednesday.

The upper chamber approved Senate Bill 1 in 33-0 vote, after an attempt by several Democrats to amend the bill failed. Sen. Ronald Miller, D-Greenbrier, was absent.

The bill eliminates an energy portfolio that was enacted in 2009 under then-Gov. Joe Manchin.

Prior to its passage, several Democrats attempted to insert an amendment that would have allowed the state’s legislative auditor to perform a jobs impact study on the bill and present a report to the Joint Committee on Government and Finance later this year.

The amendment, which ended up failing, came one day after Sen. Jeff Kessler, D-Marshall, asked Senate President Bill Cole, R-Mercer, to issue a jobs impact study to determine the effects of the bill. Cole said the bill didn’t warrant a jobs impact study.

Cole’s sentiment was reiterated by Sen. Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson, on Wednesday when he said the bill is a “long-term, free-market decision.” Any attempt to ask for a study of the bill’s effects in the near future would not make sense, Carmichael said.

The energy portfolio was designed to lower the state’s power plant emissions. It would have required energy producers to increase the amount of alternative fuels used by 15 percent in 2020 and 25 percent in 2025.

Last week, Manchin released a statement opposing the action of the proposed legislation, standing behind the law that was implemented…

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