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W.Va. Green Power Areas And Road Paving Bills Become Law

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Perry Bennett
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WV Legislative Photography
De. Larry Rowe, D-Kanawha, touts the benefits of creating 100 percent green power energy zones.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

Two new special zones that allow for 100 percent green energy for business development were set up in the state in a legislative special session.

Gov. Jim Justice asked the legislature to consider two bills. After swift passage on Monday by the Senate, but committee and floor debate by the House, the measures passed overwhelmingly.

One new law creates a certified industrial business expansion development program. Justice said the measure will create two industrial areas - both fully fueled by renewable energy.

“We have designated two areas at 2250 acres maximum across our state to have in those areas,” Justice said. “We will be ready If we have a manufacturer that absolutely cannot come here unless they are assured that they will be in an area that will be 100 percent fueled by green energy.”

The bill says the still unnamed sites must be located on land owned or leased by the state - or previously used for coal mining operations.

Justice alluded to a major manufacturer announcement, coming as early as Tuesday, that hinged on the guaranteed availability of a fully green power site.

“These people are not coming to West Virginia, unless we have this set up for them,” Justice said. “I think this is a small ask for the opportunity to come to this state.”

The other bill transfers $150 million of general revenue to the state road fund for secondary road maintenance. In his Monday coronavirus briefing, Justice said at least two paving projects are slated for each of the 55 counties. He said $125 million will go to resurfacing and $25 million for equipment. He said more than 1400 lane miles of secondary roads will be paved and some projects are already underway.

“We sold a lot of equipment on watches before I got here and we didn't have any way to even take care of our roads,” Justice said. “We're going to keep pouring it on and we're going to get every single road before it's over.”

Government Reporter, ryohe@wvpublic.org, 304-634-8123

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