House advances bill to aid struggling coal-fired power plant

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — The West Virginia House of Delegates has advanced a bill to exempt a struggling coal-fired power plant from a state tax.

Lawmakers in a House finance committee on Monday approved the measure to stop charging FirstEnergy Solutions the $12.5 million tax. It now moves to the full House for consideration.

CEO John W. Judge says the company has been operating in bankruptcy. He says its Pleasants Power Station in Willow Island will likely close in the next year without the tax exemption, putting at least 160 workers there out of work.

Pleasants County Commissioner Jay Powell says the closure of the plant would devastate the local economy.

Republican Gov. Jim Justice is pushing for the bill and amended the special session call so the legislature could take up the proposal.