This week, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice signed legislation into law that provides a $12.5 million tax break for a coal-fired power plant whose operator says a company owned by the governor owes it $3.1 million — raising ethical and conflict of interest questions in some people's minds.

The legislation provided for the state to stop charging FirstEnergy Solutions a $12.5 million state tax. The company has been operating in bankruptcy, and its CEO had said its Pleasants Power Station at Willow Island would likely close in the next year without the tax exemption, according to The Associated Press.

FirstEnergy Solutions has an ongoing federal suit against Justice's Bluestone Energy Sales Corp., accusing the governor's company of reneging on a 2016 agreement to buy $3.1 million worth of coal.

The governor's general counsel, Brian Abraham, said Justice was not personally aware of the case and that it was never brought up in any of the contact with the company.

Here's what some online readers had to say:

Gabriel Trimble: "While he's at it, he can sign one for me! I'm in debt as well, sheesh. At least I'd actually put it towards my debt!"

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Patty Fuller-Nottingham: "Tax breaks because his company owes the struggling company money? Ahh, hello, he must be taking lessons."

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Arnold Killen: "What about tax breaks for the other struggling companies in this state? Most businesses revolve around coal in this state."

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Heartland Hard Workers and Good Christians: "Trump is saving coal! WV will be on top again some day when coal comes back!"

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Tony Cunningham: "Sniff ... sniff sniff ... smells like a conspiracy."

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Rodney Harshbarger: "Jail please."

Transportation program reaction

News about the start this fall of a one-year pilot program providing transportation for those recovering from substance use disorder elicited some positive comments from on-line readers, as well as some of a different vein.

A spokesman for the Appalachian Regional Commission, which is putting more than $215,000 into the program, said the program's goal is to fill in transportation gaps for individuals participating in substance use recovery and treatment in the greater Huntington region.

While recovery is an important aspect, organizers say the ultimate goal of the project is workforce reentry, as it is an economic development initiative. Rides will not only be given for recovery and treatment, but also for probation meetings, mandatory court appearances, job interviews or transportation to a new job, he said.

Here are some comments from online readers:

Rosco Linthicum: "I think they need to offer a one-way ticket out of town if they don't finish a rehab program. Get these people back to where they come from."

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Sarah Warner: "I love the aspect of providing transportation for job interviews and going to a job. Great way to support people working their rehab program!"

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Holly Shanholtzer McKenna: "This is a much needed program. The lack of transportation is one thing that makes improving lives in rural communities very difficult."

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Mandee Cunningham: "This is a wonderful step in the right direction! Helping people get back on their feet is key to promoting recovery and allowing them to provide for their families."

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Nathan Herrod: "West Virginia needs a new drug policy. Throwing money at the same problems ... that lack of drug policy creates #CHANGES NOTHING. Drug enforcement is OK. Education prevention is OK. But West Virginia has spent untold millions on both. Our existing treatment programs turned into nothing but longterm legal drug dealing from the state.

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Ronald Craig: "Legalize everything and ban Narcan. Problem will solve itself fairly quickly, maybe even within a few months."

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David Brotherton: "When are you going to do something for people who are not drug addicts?"

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Sarah Warner: "There are some cool things out there like CentralApp free training for Salesforce. Start looking."

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