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WV Public Energy Authority still preparing to govern under new law requiring its approval for decommissioning fossil fuel-fired plants

By Mike Tony, HD Media

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — At its monthly meeting Wednesday, the West Virginia Public Energy Authority got an update on work under a new law poised to thrust it into a key role in the possible shutdown of a coal-fired plant slated to shutter soon.

But it wasn’t much of an update, with Public Energy Authority Chairman and Department of Commerce Secretary James Bailey reporting the authority didn’t meet its goal of drafting language for a potential rule for Senate Bill 609 before the meeting.

Signed into law by Gov. Jim Justice last month, SB 609 requires the authority to sign off on decommissioning or deconstructing any existing utility or non-utility plant fueled by coal, oil or natural gas. Opponents have said the measure meddles with the free market by inserting unelected officials into the plant closure process.

Bailey said the board hadn’t yet drafted language for a potential rule for SB 609 primarily due to “complexity” involved. Under SB 609, the authority will have to propose rules for legislative approval and develop emergency rules to carry out the law. ….

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