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Bay cleanup bill passes hurdle in W.Va. Senate

February 14, 2011

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Legislation that would help Eastern Panhandle communities pay for upgrades to wastewater treatment plants to meet environmental standards targeting Chesapeake Bay cleanup cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday.

State Sen. Herb Snyder, D-Jefferson/Berkeley, said Senate Bill 245 now faces an “uphill battle” in the Senate Finance Committee because it comes with a notable price tag; $6 million per year for the next 30 years.

Excess video lottery money would be allocated to the West Virginia Infrastructure & Jobs Development Council to pay off bonds issued for wastewater treatment projects in Berkeley, Jefferson, Morgan, Hampshire, Mineral, Grant and Hardy counties if SB 245 becomes law, Snyder said.

The cost of the projects is estimated to be about $224 million, but grants and private funding sources have reduced it to about $190.5 million, Snyder said.

After tapping the available state funding through the bond issue, local governments would still have to come up with the difference, Snyder said.

Compared to financial support provided by other states in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, “this is a small commitment,” Snyder said.

— Matthew Umstead

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