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Land-use authority restored - House panel amends bill to give localities power over location of energy facilities

A House of Delegates committee restored local authority over the location of energy-related facilities when it amended a Senate bill creating a state energy plan yesterday.

The Senate-passed version of the measure allows the State Corporation Commission to pick the best sites in Virginia for windmills, liquefied natural gas terminals and nuclear-power plants, overriding local land-use authority if an energy company builds on one of those sites.

However, when the House Commerce and Labor Committee heard the bill yesterday, the measure's sponsor, Sen. Frank W. Wagner, R-Virginia Beach, agreed to amendments that restore local land-use authority. Chairman Del. Harvey B. Morgan, R-Middlesex, sponsored the amendments.

Wagner also accepted several amendments from Del. Dwight Clinton Jones, D-Richmond, designed to protect economically disadvantaged and minority communities.

Wagner said he will ask the full Senate to accept the House amendments, but first the bill must pass its test before the full House in this final week of the regular General Assembly session.

The legislation survived a move by some lawmakers to have it carried over until next year so it could be studied further. It then passed the committee by a 14-7 vote.

Wagner's measure contains a provision that would... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

The Senate-passed version of the measure allows the State Corporation Commission to pick the best sites in Virginia for windmills, liquefied natural gas terminals and nuclear-power plants, overriding local land-use authority if an energy company builds on one of those sites.
 
However, when the House Commerce and Labor Committee heard the bill yesterday, the measure's sponsor, Sen. Frank W. Wagner, R-Virginia Beach, agreed to amendments that restore local land-use authority. Chairman Del. Harvey B. Morgan, R-Middlesex, sponsored the amendments.
 
Wagner also accepted several amendments from Del. Dwight Clinton Jones, D-Richmond, designed to protect economically disadvantaged and minority communities.
 
Wagner said he will ask the full Senate to accept the House amendments, but first the bill must pass its test before the full House in this final week of the regular General Assembly session.
 
The legislation survived a move by some lawmakers to have it carried over until next year so it could be studied further. It then passed the committee by a 14-7 vote.
 
Wagner's measure contains a provision that would throw state support behind lifting the federal moratorium on offshore natural-gas development along the Atlantic coast. That has drawn opposition from environmental groups.
 
Conservation groups have also lamented the earlier stripping of energy conservation and efficiency provisions from Wagner's original bill. Those would have provided tax incentives for consumers to buy energy-saving appliances and furnaces.
 
Although a grant program for the installation of renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power is still in the bill, the General Assembly has not funded it.
 
Cary Whitehead of the Virginia Conservation Network called for a "more balanced [energy] vision for Virginia." Irene Leech, president of the Virginia Citizens Consumer Council, said that the process used to make law in Virginia doesn't allow for consideration of consumer interests.
 
Committee member Del. Kathy J. Byron, R-Campbell, promised that lawmakers will address energy conservation next year.


Source: http://www.timesdispatch.co...

MAR 7 2006
http://www.windaction.org/posts/1565-land-use-authority-restored-house-panel-amends-bill-to-give-localities-power-over-location-of-energy-facilities
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