SD44 - Report of the Coal and Energy Commission

Executive Summary:
The Virginia Coal and Energy Commission was established in statute in 1979 to study all aspects of coal as an energy resource and endeavor to stimulate, encourage, promote, and assist in the development of renewable and alternative energy resources other than petroleum. The Commission has 20 members: five members of the Senate, seven members of the House of Delegates, and seven citizen members appointed by the Governor. Currently, there is one vacancy on the Commission due to former Delegate JoAnn Davis' election to Congress.

In addition to its general powers, the Commission is also directed by its enabling legislation to: (i) act in an advisory capacity to the Governor and executive branch agencies upon energy-related matters; (ii) investigate and consider questions and problems relating to the field of coal and energy utilization and alternative energy sources as may be submitted; (iii) make recommendations to the Governor and General Assembly on its own initiative; (iv) consult with state agencies on all matters regarding energy conservation, including the promotion and implementation of initiatives for encouraging energy conservation by the public; (v) encourage research designed to further new and more extensive use of the coal as well as alternative and renewable energy resources of the Commonwealth; (vi) disseminate its recommendations to groups and organizations, both state and local, so as to stimulate initiatives of local governing bodies and private business in the field of energy-related matters; (vii) coordinate its efforts with those of the Virginia Solar Energy Center and the Virginia Center for Coal and Energy Research; (viii) actively seek federal and oilier funds to be used to carry out its functions; and (ix) seek to establish alternative fuel capability within the Commonwealth (Va. Code § 9-145.1).

The Commission met for the first time since 1998 on January 9, 2001. Senator William Wampler of Bristol was elected Chairman and Delegate Harry Parrish of Manassas was elected Vice-Chairman. Senator Wampler appointed members to subcommittees, and these appointments are in Appendix A. The Commission heard updates on recent legislation involving coal and other sources of energy, production of various sources of energy in Virginia, and energy assistance programs for low-income households.