Lawmakers didn’t know FirstEnergy had suit going

CHARLESTON — Some West Virginia lawmakers wish they had a particular piece of information prior to last week’s deal to give FirstEnergy Solutions enough financial breathing room to keep the Pleasants Power Station alive.
During a quick special session, lawmakers in both houses voted overwhelmingly to eliminate the financially struggling power station’s $12.5 million annual business and occupation tax obligation in hopes of bolstering its standing in an upcoming power capacity auction.
Lawmakers were moved by the power plant’s perilous financial situation, the time crunch of preparing for the auction, the 160 jobs and other taxes produced by the plant and the hook that this plant is the only one in West Virginia affected by that tax.
What legislators did not know was that a company owned by Gov. Jim Justice and his family is in an active federal lawsuit with FirstEnergy Solutions, which claims it is owed a $3 million final payout on a coal deal.

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