House committee focused on coalfields begins efforts

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Members of the West Virginia Legislature have formed a new select committee focused on presenting measures aimed at helping West Virginia’s coalfields.

The House of Delegates Select Committee on Coalfield Communities met for the first time on Monday. The formation stems from last June’s announcement from House Speaker Roger Hanshaw, R-Clay, regarding an informal workgroup focused on developing proposals for improving communities.

Delegate Mark Dean, R-Mingo (File photo)

Delegate Mark Dean, R-Mingo — the committee’s chairman — said on Wednesday’s “MetroNews Talkline” that lawmakers have held multiple public hearings to gauge constituents’ concerns about the region.

“There were six different areas, and we heard the same thing in most of these [meetings],” he said. “Address basic infrastructure, diversify the economies, expand recreation and tourism, support efforts to access the outside resources, expand educational opportunities, and help our vulnerable populations.”

Dean said legislators also heard multiple suggestions regarding legislation addressing each goal.

“One of the biggest things we are going to tackle is being able to access the federal funds,” he said. “Local entities have to put up a 10% match, and some of our smaller municipalities and counties don’t have the money for that.”

The committee is considering establishing a program for municipal governments to secure money for projects. Dean noted funding would be available through grants and remaining coronavirus relief dollars.





More News

News
Education leaders provide job opportunities to West Virginians leaving prison
A Re-Entry and Recovery Works Conference was held last week in Charleston.
May 22, 2022 - 12:23 pm
News
Property owners can challenge updated flood maps in 2 counties
FEMA has adjusted the flood hazard zones for Kanawha and Greenbrier Counties in the wake of the 2016 flood. Property owners who see a change in status have just under three months to challenge the changes.
May 22, 2022 - 7:46 am
News
WVU, Monongalia County set to welcome lawmakers for interim meetings
Three-day schedule begins Sunday afternoon.
May 22, 2022 - 6:00 am
News
Vehicle crashes through front of Dairy Queen in Putnam County
Restaurant workers were serving customers when the crash happened Saturday evening.
May 21, 2022 - 10:42 pm