West Virginians for Public Lands – February 2019
Public Lands Volunteers Care for Federal Lands During Government Shutdown
Senator Manchin Serves as Ranking Member on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee
This Congress, West Virginia is going to have some additional clout on Capital Hill as Senator Manchin takes over as Ranking Member on the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. This powerful committee has jurisdiction over our national energy policy, energy, national parks, public lands, and water.
Angie Rosser with WV Rivers shared, “By reauthorizing the Land and Water Conservation Fund, this bill supports West Virginia’s heritage and outdoor recreation economy and keeps faith with the important idea that America’s outdoors and public lands are part of who we are as a nation.”
WVPL Alliance Members Comment on Big Run Hydro Project
FreedomWorks LLC has proposed a pump storage hydroelectric project in a portion of the Monongahela National Forest in Tucker County. While we agree there is a need for increased storage capacity to make renewable energy more reliable, the proposed location for this project raises concerns.
The project has the potential to impact Big Run Bog National Natural Landmarkand Mill Run, a high quality native brook trout stream. Freedom Works must obtain a permit from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to proceed with a feasibility study.
West Virginians for Public Lands Alliance members WV Rivers, Friends of Cheat, Friends of Blackwater, the West Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club and the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy submitted comments to FERC expressing our concerns. The WVDNR, the Monongahela National Forest, and the Department of the Interior also submitted comments on the proposal. We will keep you updated as this process unfolds.
West Virginia Legislative Session
The 2019 West Virginia legislative session began on January 9 and runs until March 9. Our state public lands can breathe a sigh of relief, there are no logging bills running this session. We are tracking two bills related to public lands:
HB2420 – Mountaineer Trail Recreation Authority. This bill would establish an entity to help expand recreational trails and access in the Potomac Highlands and central part of the West Virginia. HB2420 has passed the House and is in the Senate Economic Development Committee.
SB88 – Office of Outdoor Recreation. This bill would create the Office of Outdoor Recreation to coordinate outdoor recreation policy and promote outdoor recreation in West Virginia. SB88 is in the Senate Government Organization Committee.