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Introduced Version Senate Concurrent Resolution 81 History

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SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION 81

(By Senators Stollings, Takubo, Phillips, Plymale, Woelfel, and Roberts)

[Introduced April 10, 2021]

 

Urging the Governor of West Virginia to form task force to develop a plan which will identify and facilitate new and diverse economic opportunities such as the extraction of rare earth elements and other value-added products in areas that were formerly very dependent on the coal industry, identify and facilitate the redevelopment and revitalization of former coal mining areas.

Whereas, Since employing 63,000 workers in 1978, employment in West Virginia’s coal industry has declined. In 2018, only 12,000 workers were employed at West Virginia coal mines; and

Whereas, Some regions have been devastated by the down turn of the coal industry. This has resulted in a lower tax base, and reduction is basic services and out migration of the population; and  

Whereas, Coordinated leadership within West Virginia’s state government is essential to align and deliver assistance to these impacted communities and workers; and

Whereas, A strong and comprehensive policy is also needed to invest new financial resources in communities affected by the decline of the coal economy that are seeking to diversify and grow their local and regional economies in a manner that is both sustainable and equitable; and

Whereas, West Virginia will thrive when all of its regions, counties, and communities offer diverse employment opportunities with family-supporting wages and benefits; therefore, be it

Resolved by the Legislature of West Virginia:

That the Senate hereby urges the Governor of West Virginia to form task force to develop a plan which will identify and facilitate new and diverse economic opportunities such as the extraction of rare earth elements and other value-added products in areas that were formerly very dependent on the coal industry, identify and facilitate the redevelopment and revitalization of former coal mining areas; and, be it

Further Resolved, That the Governor of West Virginia consider the following persons for selection on this task force: The Commissioner of the Division of Labor, the Director of the Office of Economic Development, the Director of the Department of Commerce, members of the Senate and House of Delegates who represent impacted communities, representatives of the labor unions, representatives with experience in professional economic development or workforce retraining, representatives of the coal industry, and representatives of the utility industry; and, be it

Further Resolved, That the task force shall identify and consider the short-term and long-term costs and benefits of each plan component and whether each component can be implemented under existing law or whether new legislation needs to be considered; and, be it

Further Resolved, That the task force shall, as a component of the plan, identify and compile a list of available local, state, federal, and other sources of funding available and recommend the best method to coordinate these resources to support impacted communities and workers; and, be it

Further Resolved, That the Joint Committee on Government and Finance report to the Governor of West Virginia and the regular session of the Legislature, 2022, on its findings, conclusions, and recommendations, together with drafts of any legislation necessary to effectuate its recommendations.

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