CHARLESTON — Invoice Raney, a long-time coal government and chief of West Virginia’s pro-coal advocacy efforts, will sit down on the state company that regulates utilities, together with coal-fired energy crops.
In accordance with an appointment letter from Gov. Jim Justice despatched to the West Virginia Secretary of State’s Workplace, Raney was appointed to the state Public Service Fee as of Aug. 2. A web based entry on the state’s Government Journal database additionally confirmed the appointment. His time period will finish on June 30, 2027.
“I’m very excited that Invoice has been appointed to the Public Service Fee,” stated PSC Chairwoman Charlotte Lane in a press release Thursday. “I’ve labored with Invoice for 40 years and am very a lot wanting ahead to working with him on the fee for the advantage of all West Virginians.”
Raney served for 28 years as president and chief government officer of the West Virginia Coal Affiliation. He retired from that function on Jan. 1 and was changed by Coal Affiliation vp Chris Hamilton.
Raney beforehand served as vp of the West Virginia Mining and Reclamation Affiliation, merging the 2 organizations in 2000. Raney additionally labored for the West Virginia Division of Pure Sources within the Division of Reclamation, rising to the rank of assistant chief.
Raney replaces former Kanawha County state senator and actual property developer Brooks McCabe on the PSC, whose time period expired June 30. McCabe was appointed to the PSC in 2014 by former Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin.
The PSC consists of three members who serve six-year phrases. The commissioners are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the West Virginia Senate. The PSC regulates electrical, pure gasoline, phone, and water/sewer utilities. The PSC additionally regulates strong waste carriers, taxis, towing, business transportation, and rail.
On Wednesday, the PSC authorised a plan by Appalachian Energy and Wheeling Energy to maintain a number of energy crops, together with Marshall County’s Mitchell Energy Plant, working till not less than 2040. The PSC authorised the businesses’ request for a 1.5 % surcharge — or 38 cents per 1,000 kilowatt hours per thirty days per buyer — on electrical customers to fund enhancements to the Mitchell and the opposite crops to deliver them in keeping with federal guidelines for wastewater, and dealing with coal ash.
McCabe was one of many three commissioners who heard testimony from firm executives and teams supporting and opposing the businesses’ certificates of comfort and necessity request again in June. The West Virginia Coal Affiliation was one among two intervenors in favor of the plan. PSC spokesperson Susan Small stated Raney had no function in Wednesday’s choice.
“He has not but been sworn in and has not but participated in ANY Fee deliberations,” Small stated.
Through the 2020 major and basic election for governor, Raney donated the utmost quantities for Justice’s re-election for a complete of $5,600. The West Virginia Coal Affiliation donated a complete of $3,100 to Justice throughout the major and basic elections.
The workplace of Gov. Jim Justice declined to remark for this story. A spokesperson stated Justice would make remarks concerning the appointment of Raney throughout his Friday COVID-19 briefing.
Raney additionally declined to remark.
Environmental teams raised issues Thursday upon studying the information, questioning whether or not Raney could make unbiased selections relating to coal-fired energy crops equivalent to Mitchell.
Emmett Pepper, coverage director for Power Environment friendly West Virginia, famous that PSC Chairwoman Lane additionally represented the Coal Affiliation in instances earlier than the PSC prior to now.
“I’m deeply involved concerning the lack of selection within the background of the commissioners now and the way which may have an effect on ratepayers,” Pepper stated in a press release Thursday afternoon. “There’s nothing mistaken with somebody having labored for the (Coal Affiliation) after which being on the fee, however we have to have quite a lot of viewpoints — targeted on clients, too, not simply business.”
“Will the Fee now be extra prepared to favor coal corporations on the expense of ratepayers? I hope not,” Pepper stated. “West Virginians’ electrical payments have elevated by 150 % over the previous 15 years and I fear we received’t reverse that development if we maintain ratcheting up charges an increasing number of to pay for expensive coal-fired energy crops.”
Steven Allen Adams could be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.