The 2012 Legislative Session is in full swing!
The Sludge Safety Project is currently tracking two bills related to coal slurry in the West Virginia Legislature:
HB 4316, which would prohibit the underground injection of coal slurry (without any tax incentive) was introduced last week in the House. The bill was referred to the Energy, Industry and Labor committee. This committee has a long history of not taking action on our bills, but we are continuing to work towards a ban and the advancement of this bill.
SB 466, which would provide a tax credit to coal companies for adopting technologies that “eliminate or reduce” coal sludge was introduced in the Senate on Tuesday. It was referred to the Economic Development committee. That committee took up the bill Friday morning. The committee adopted an amendment offered by Sen. Herb Snyder (D-Jefferson) that made the tax credit available only to companies that “eliminate or reduce by 50% the generation of coal slurry or eliminate existing coal slurry disposal sites.” The committee then passed the bill, with Sen. Doug Facemire (D-Braxton) and Sen. Karen Facemyer (R-Jackson) voting against the bill. The bill is referred next to Senate Finance.
While we included the tax credit in our bill last year, and were willing to provide a tax incentive in conjunction with a ban on underground injections as a reasonable compromise, we do not support a tax credit only bill. Without the ban language, this bill is a give away to the industry, with no assurance that the health and safety of West Virginia citizens will be protected.
How can you help us work towards a ban on coal slurry injections and a just transition to safer technologies? Get in touch with your local senators and delegates, and let them know you want a ban on coal slurry injections in West Virginia!