W.Va. lawmakers vote to end EV rule as governor faces EV rule review
W.V. lawmakers voted Wednesday to end the rule that requires businesses to get permission from the state before selling electricity.
It’s the latest move by Democrats to weaken the state’s climate law and pave the way for a nationwide rollout of EV charging stations.
Earl Ray Tomblin (D) and House Speaker David Loebsack (R) had been pressing lawmakers to scrap the rule.
The rule would have required businesses to obtain a permit before selling energy.
The move is likely to hurt Democrats, who control both chambers of the state Legislature.
LoeBSACK has said that he will sign an executive order that allows businesses to sell electricity from electric vehicles in the state.
“We’ve been asking to have this rule repealed for months and months,” Tomblin said.
“It’s just one of the things we’re talking about.”
The bill to end state-sanctioned EV charging, introduced by Rep. Jim Dutton (R-Columbia), is sponsored by Democratic Reps.
Kevin Brady (Conn.) and Mike Zunino (Conn.).
It would end a rule that the legislature passed in 2016 requiring businesses to have permits.
It also would allow businesses to buy energy from suppliers that have not gotten state permits.
“This bill is about saving money for businesses, making it easier for them to start up in this new environment and make it easier to do business here in West Virginia,” Brady said in a statement.
The legislation also would require utilities to obtain permits from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) before selling power.
“This bill would end state government’s ability to force businesses to spend millions of dollars on permitting and compliance,” the statement said.
West Virginia has been under a state-run cap and trade program for about five years.
It allows utilities to purchase a certain amount of renewable energy from the grid to help reduce carbon dioxide emissions, but the cap and price scheme is not tied to the federal government.
West Virginians could begin buying electricity from renewable sources this fall.
The state currently sells more than 70 percent of its electricity to private customers, according to data from the utility.
The bill also would repeal the law’s $3.5 billion cap-and-trade program for the electricity sector, which requires that the price of electricity from natural gas plants in the region be reduced by a certain percentage.
The EPA and the Trump administration are expected to review the legislation, which Tomblin has said he will not sign.
A spokesman for Tomblin did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the bill.