2018 Legislative Update and Action Alert

We’ve reached the half way point of the 2018 Legislative session. To get caught up on where things stand, check out our latest edition of Water Policy News here. Want to receive weekly water policy briefings delivered directly to your inbox? Sign-up here.

Latest on the State Parks Logging Bill

This session, an issue that has taken center stage is the proposal to lift an 80-year ban on commercial logging in West Virginia’s state parks. Both chambers of the legislature have seen the introduction of a logging bill, but public pressure has kept the bills off the agenda.

Our partner, the West Virginia Environmental Council, has requested a public hearing on the House version of the bill. During the hearing you can add your voice against the bill to the public record.

The public hearing could be scheduled with very little notice – watch WV Rivers’ Facebook page for public hearing announcements and other urgent calls to action! Find WV Rivers on Facebook here.

Action Alert: Public Drinking Water Protection

Before the session comes to a close, we’re calling on Senate President Carmichael and House Speaker Armstead to make sure important recommendations to protect public drinking water are brought before the Legislature. The Public Water System Supply Study Commission (PWSSSC), which WV Rivers serves on, provides yearly recommendations to improve the safety and security of West Virginia’s public drinking water supplies. Read the current recommendations here.

Help make sure the West Virginia Legislature considers the important recommendations of the PWSSSC! Please send a letter to Senate President Mitch Carmichael, and House Speaker Tim Armstead, asking them to provide leadership in making sure the PWSSSC’s recommendations receive the attention they deserve.

WV Rivers Receives 2-Year Grant to Support Clean Water Defense

WV Rivers executive director, Angie Rosser, with Jerry McCarthy, former VEE executive director (left), Mac Thornton, WV Rivers co-founder, and Joe Maroon, VEE executive director.

Our mission to conserve and restore West Virginia’s exceptional rivers and streams became so much stronger with the award of a multi-year grant from the Virginia Environmental Endowment. The two-year grant totaling $80,000 supports our water policy analysis and public education; our Safe Water for West Virginia program, which engages communities in local drinking water protection; and our efforts to defend streams from the impacts of natural gas pipelines.

VEE’s long-term commitment West Virginia’s water quality and the work of WV Rivers has resulted in significant victories for our waters. Recent successes resulting from VEE’s support include: withdrawal by WVDEP of changes to Water Quality Standards that would have reduced drinking water protections; informing citizens on policy and public participation opportunities, resulting 18,000 citizen letters decision makers on water quality issues; and our ability to provide direct assistance to 13 water utilities in the source water planning and implementation process. Thank you VEE for your long-term dedication to WV Rivers!

Thanking WV Rivers Board Members for Their Service

Please join WV Rivers in thanking outgoing board members Don Garvin (left) and Bill Turner (right) for their dedication and service to West Virginia Rivers Coalition.

Don is a founding member of West Virginia Rivers Coalition and throughout his service, he provided extensive legislative and policy knowledge to the organization. In addition to his commitment to WV Rivers, Don served in leadership roles for the West Virginia Environmental Council, Trout Unlimited and the West Virginia Chapter of Trout Unlimited.

Bill Turner joined the WV Rivers board in 1998 and served as the board chair for multiple terms. While serving on the board, Bill was an attorney at Pyles & Turner, LLP, a law practice in Lewisburg, WV. An avid angler, Bill has enjoyed spending time on many of WV’s exceptional rivers, including the New, Greenbrier, Gauley, Elk, Kanawha, Buckhannon, and Potomac, as well as countless smaller creeks and streams.

Thank you Don and Bill! Your commitment, knowledge, and enthusiasm leaves a lasting mark on the health and future of West Virginia’s rivers and streams.

Public Lands Update: Uncertainty Over Public Lands Reigns in Washington, DC

We’re now six months into the federal budget for fiscal year 2018, and Congress has yet to approve funding for the remainder of the year. This has two implications for national public lands. First, some of the worst bills — public lands selloffs and giveaways, gutting laws on national monuments — have not moved forward while Congress tries to pass a funding measure beyond six weeks at at time. Second, though, is that many of these anti-public lands bill will turn up as “riders” in the budget, instead.

On the national monuments front, there are two competing bills. One would codify the cleaver taken to Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante by President Trump’s executive order to shrink them. A Senate bill would strengthen the Antiquities Act. All that is known now is that Bears Ears and Grand Staircase are now open to oil, gas, and mining leases.

Stay tuned! Sign-up to receive monthly West Virginians for Public Lands news for the latest public lands news and how you can get involved.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email