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WVMA All State Meeting 1040x150 1a

As Senate Bill 163 makes its way to Gov. Jim Justice for approval, the West Virginia Manufacturers Association wants to thank the West Virginia Legislature and the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection for allowing the time necessary to establish accurate human health criteria for West Virginia.

At the same time, we want to express our disappointment in the failure to pass SCR 39 creating a Joint Select Committee on Requirements Governing Water Quality Resources in West Virginia. Absent this commission, the WVMA urges the Legislature to provide a forum for further discussion and education related to West Virginia’s regulatory structure and water quality issues. 

Without a doubt, West Virginia is one of the most important energy producing states in the country. From our world class reserves of coal to our growing output of oil and natural gas, our state has tremendous potential to help our country become energy independent and put West Virginians back to work in family-supporting jobs.

It was not that long ago that pressure from Washington, D.C., attempted to strangle all aspects of energy production and transmission in our state. Trying to keep West Virginia’s energy resources in the ground — for purely political reasons — would have helped to put West Virginians out of work, helped create an unstable state budget and made our state unfriendly to businesses that need reliable, affordable energy.

Manufacturing is essential to West Virginia’s economy, providing tens of thousands of jobs and more than $4 billion a year in exports. But there’s an import that threatens these West Virginia companies: Class action lawsuits.

This profit-driven litigation frequently sprawls across state lines to ensnare local businesses with claims that are expensive to defend and typically designed to be settled by paying plaintiff attorneys multimillion-dollar fees to go away. They impose unnecessary costs and management distraction on manufacturers without providing much of anything to class members, the supposed clients.

That’s why I support the Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act, a bill now pending in Congress that would provide meaningful reforms to an out-of-control system. First of all, FICALA would stamp out “no-injury” lawsuits where lawyers assemble a class of plaintiffs without showing, up front, that they’ve suffered any tangible injuries.