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Coal industry praises Northam decision to sign tax credit

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- A decision by Gov. Ralph Northam to reinstate a tax credit for certain coal producers is drawing praise from an industry group and lawmakers in southwest Virginia, who say it could spur economic growth. But environmental groups say the bill is a useless corporate giveaway.

The governor signed the pared-down tax credit earlier this month.

The previous version of the credit expired in 2016. Then-Gov. Terry McAuliffe vetoed previous attempts to bring it back.

This year's bill whittles down the recipients and expected cost to the state. Only producers of metallurgical coal, which is used in steel production, are eligible.

Northam says the bill will help southwest Virginia's economy. He also says its "targeted nature" acknowledges the reality that Virginia needs to move toward renewable energy and energy conservation.

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