WV Claims Tax Breaks for Coal-To-Liquid Plant Should Be Secret From Taxpayers

August 13, 2008

The administration of West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin (D) is claiming the right to keep secret its agreement to grant $200 million in tax breaks to a coal-to-liquid plant the administration wants to see built.

Charleston Gazette reporter Ken Ward Jr. got the document — and the story — anyway.

"Commerce Secretary Kelley Goes signed the agreement in her role as executive director of the West Virginia Development Office," Ward reported. "Goes had previously refused to release the agreement, and continued to insist Thursday that the document was exempt from disclosure under the state's public records law."

"CONSOL Energy Inc. and a Houston-based company called Synthesis Energy Systems Inc. formed a joint venture called Appalachian Fuel LLC to develop the $800 million coal-to-liquids facility," the Gazette reported.