Bill Heads for Full WV Senate, Aims at Supporting Funding for State Air Quality Regulators

Published on: 11 March 2022 06:46 PM
by KnowESG
(Credit: WV Legislature, own work)

A Brief Summary

A bill for shoring up funding for state air quality regulators is headed for full West Virginia Senate. It will move further from where it stopped in last year's legislative session. House Bill 3082, approved by the Senate Finance Committee, would enable the state Department of Environmental Protection's Division of Air Quality to invest money held in two funds.

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The House approved and passed HB 3082 with a 76-24 vote last month before it halted in the Senate Finance Committee.

Dwindling industrial emissions in West Virginia resulted in revenue reduction for the division because emissions rates determine fees for giant industrial sources. DEP officials said last year, the division of Air Quality's funding level was adequate.

A $1 million fund transfer from the division was authorized by the legislature in the fiscal year 2017 to overcome a state budget deficit, But as per the 2019 EPA evaluation of the DEP's Title V permit fees, the legislature should not use the funds for unrelated expenses. The legislature refunded that amount later in 2019.

According to Jason Wandling, general counsel for the DEP, communicated to lawmakers last year that the investments related to HB 3082 would secure sufficient funding to stay in compliance with Title V of the Clean Air Act.

The Air Pollution Control Fund and the Air Pollution Education and Environment Fund are those that the bill covers. By the end of 2018, the two funds had a cash balance of $5.7 million and $1 million, respectively.