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Virginia Could Soon End Costly Coal Tax Credits

AP Photo / Mead Gruver, File

Lawmakers are considering a bill that would scrap tax credits for the coal industry.

Virginia's return on investment for coal tax credits is about five cents on the dollar. That's according to a recent study that also found the tax credits actually ended up losing jobs. Lawmakers are now coming around to the view that spending $300 million over the last decade to subsidizing coal production and employment is just not working out.


Senator Jeremy McPike is a Democrat from Prince William County. 


"The interest for the industry is mapping out certainty," McPike says. "They don't want to relitigate this next year and the year beyond and the year beyond. They want certainty and a path forward." 


Delegate Sally Hudson is a Democrat from Charlottesville who says she's hearing from people in Southwest Virginia who are excited about moving away from fossil fuels. 


They'd rather take that money we've been pouring into the coal industry of the past and invest it in their schools of the future," explains Hudson. "No one is saying that we should divest from our neighbors in Southwest. We're just saying that we should shift that investment toward more environmentally sustainable industries." 


The House and Senate have both passed bills sunsetting the coal tax credits, so the legislation is heading to the governor's desk.


This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.