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Energy-states coalition pitches to WV lawmakers

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A relatively new coalition of energy states pitched membership to the West Virginia Legislature today.

The Energy Producing States Coalition aims to form a single, unified voice for speaking to multi-state energy issues. According to a story by the Wyoming Tribune Eagle, the coalition is targeting North Dakota, Louisiana, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and New Mexico to join members Wyoming, Texas, Utah, Alaska, Colorado, Mississippi and Ohio.

Jack Belcher, executive vice president of HBW Resources in Houston, spoke to an economic development committee of the Legislature on Nov. 26. Belcher said the state can join as a whole, or individual lawmakers can join the cause.

"It's a fairly new organization made up of legislators from energy-producing states that support one another in the pursuit of sound domestic energy policies," Belcher said.

Some of the issues the group hopes to tackle include environmental regulations, transportation and transmission. The group largely encourages state rights on energy issues and streamlining energy activities.

"The objectives of the coalition are to support, deliver a strong, unified voice to the federal government from the states who produce energy and power our nation's economy," Belcher said.

The group, Belcher said, is energy-neutral and works with producers of all forms of energy. The coalition plans to meet multiple times throughout the year to discuss energy issues with other energy-producing states.

The coalition also shares policy and hopes to create model pieces of legislation to share with other members of the coalition.

Belcher said West Virginia was chosen because it was seen to have an important role in energy development in the United States.