The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WV DEP) has decided not to file an emergency rule to implement the provisions of Senate Bill 373, the Aboveground Storage Tank Act that was passed by the Legislature following the Elk River Chemical Spill in January. The agency will modify the currently proposed emergency rule and file it as a “normal” rule for consideration by the Legislature during the 2015 Regular Session. Once filed as a normal rule, there will be another public comment period and public hearing held on the proposal. If filed as an emergency rule, the regulations would become effective upon certification by the Secretary of State and be operative as the Legislature considers revisions to the statute. WV DEP’s interpretive rule http://www.dep.wv.gov/WWE/abovegroundstoragetanks/Documents/20141020DRAFTInterpretiveRuleRevBasedonCommentsKABfinal.pdf will be the only effective rule while the Legislature considers revisions to Senate Bill 373.
Congressman David McKinley (R-WV), will have more responsibility when the new Congress begins meeting next year. McKinley, who was re-elected to his third term, will continue to serve on the House Energy and Commerce Committee for the next two years. He will also maintain his position on the Energy and Power and the Environmental and Economy subcommittees, but has been named vice chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. While on the committees, McKinley has been vocal in his opposition of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Affordable Care Act.
The incoming legislative leaders in both the State Senate and House have announced their intentions to elevate the legislative energy committees to "major committee" status when the Legislature convenes in January.
Current House Minority Leader Tim Armstead, who will likely be Speaker following the December caucus and State Senator Bill Cole, who is projected to become the new Senate President stressed the importance of coal and energy to the state (past and future) when making the announcement.
Both Armstead and Cole indicated that they would like for the Legislature's involvement with coal and energy issues to become more contributory to the success and viability of the state's energy industries.
Below is a related news article appearing in the Wheeling Intelligencer.
By MICHAEL ERB , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register
CHARLESTON - Republican leaders in West Virginia plan to elevate the Legislature's energy committees to major-committee status, giving them more time to meet and more resources to use.
Though legislative leaders are hesitant to release many details on the upcoming session's Republican agenda, officials said a focus on energy will be a major component.