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Tomblin signs bill repealing energy act

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The first bill signed into law in this year’s regular legislative session repeals a current state law.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin signed House Bill 2001 Tuesday repealing the state’s Alternative Renewable Energy Portfolio Act.

The act, approved in 2009 when current U.S. Senator Joe Manchin was governor, requires electric utilities to increase the percentage of alternative fuels they use in producing energy. Many members of the current legislature said the law was anti-coal.

Gov. Tomblin said Tuesday times have changed.

“In 2009 when the Legislature approved West Virginia’s Alternative Renewable Energy Portfolio, the Act had overwhelming support from business and industry,” Tomblin said in a prepared statement. “We understand economic drivers and factors change over time, and the Act as it was passed in 2009 is no longer beneficial for our state. After it passed both houses of the Legislature with overwhelming bipartisan support, I have signed House Bill 2001, repealing the West Virginia Alternative Renewable Energy Portfolio Act.”

Sen. Manchin heavily criticized the new Republican leadership in the legislature when the bill was first discussed last month but later backed off.

The utilities impacted by the law have repeatedly said they’ve already met the 2015 targets of the law and electricity rates had not increased because of it.

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