WV Rivers News: Mountain Valley Pipeline Public Hearing; New Staff; Coal Community Listening Sessions

Mountain Valley Pipeline Virtual Public Hearings – Nov. 1 and Nov. 4

The Army Corps of Engineers will be holding virtual public hearings on the Mountain Valley Pipeline for residents in West Virginia and Virginia. These hearings are on the pipeline’s request to cross streams and wetlands. Read our fact sheet on the virtual public hearing and review example comments.

We need to show the Army Corps that West Virginians and Virginians have valid concerns about the water quality implications of the pipeline. We can guarantee that the pipeline company, and proponents of the oil and gas industry will speak during the hearing. Don’t let industry be the only voice

You must preregister to join the virtual public hearing. To register:

EmailCELRP-MVP@usace.army.mil with subject “RSVP to Speak at West Virginia Public Hearing” or “RSVP to Speak at Virginia Public Hearing” include your full name, email address, and contact phone number with area code.

Worried about what to expect during the hearing? We’ve got you covered! We’ll be holding a public hearing prep session on October 26 at 7:30PM. If you can’t join the live webinar, all registrants will receive a recording of the presentation. Register here for the prep session.

WV House Members Head to Coal Communities to Listen to Residents

The bipartisan House of Delegates Coal Communities Workgroup will hold public listening sessions in Marshall, Monongalia, Logan and Raleigh counties to hear from communities facing economic and social challenges from the decline of coal.

A goal of the workgroup is to connect communities with available resources to help with revitalization efforts. Del. Evan Hansen, a member of the workgroup, first proposed a similar plan during the 2021 legislative session called the Coal Community Comeback, while it didn’t become law, it set in motion the development of this workgroup. You can learn more about the workgroup here.

Stops on the listening session tour:

  • October 19: Marshall County, Marshall County Fairgrounds, in Moundsville, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
  • October 20: Monongalia County, Shack Neighborhood House, in Pursglove, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
  • October 25: Logan County, Word of Life Church gymnasium, in Logan, from 6 to 8 p.m.
  • October 27: Raleigh County, Woodrow Wilson High School cafeteria, in Beckley, at 6 p.m.

Legislative Rule-Making Committee is the First Stop for Water Quality Standards Rule

The 2022 Legislative session is quickly approaching – just 3 months away – and one of the most anticipated policies up for debate is a WVDEP proposed rule on revisions to water quality standards. WVDEP’s rule would create a loophole to allow industries to discharge more toxins in our source water. Read WV Rivers’ technical comments on the rule.

But, before the 2022 Legislature considers the proposal, it will need to be reviewed by a special joint Legislative Rule-making Committee (comprised of both House and Senate members). This committee meets before the start of the legislative session. Committee members review all rules proposed by state agencies, like the WVDEP, and have the opportunity to either approve, disapprove or change the rule. A few years ago, the Legislative Rule-making Committee dramatically weakened a proposed water quality standards rule by removing an important amendment. The action by the Rule-making Committee set the tone for the legislature and the weakened rule was eventually adopted.

We expect the Legislative Rule-making Committee to consider the water quality standards rule soon. Keep your eyes on your inbox, legislators need to hear from you on the rule! We’ll share an action alert when the committee takes up the rule.

The WV Rivers Team is Growing!

It is clear that the climate crisis is having devastating and dangerous impacts on West Virginia’s communities, forests and water quality. These impacts range from increased catastrophic storms, the proliferation of invasive species, to communities struggling to survive as the world transitions from fossil fuels.

Climate change is a very real threat to West Virginia’s rivers and streams we can’t ignore. And it’s a threat that we actively need to work against. To spearhead WV Rivers’ climate advocacy and public education initiatives we’ve added Morgan King to our team to serve as our climate campaign coordinator.

Morgan, a native West Virginian, is a 2018 Fulbright Scholar, and a 2019 Marshall Scholar. She holds a MPhil in Public Policy from the University of Cambridge and an MSc in Environmental Systems Engineering from University College London.

Morgan has returned home to Charleston and is eager to put her expertise in public policy, water quality, and energy access to work! You can send Morgan a welcome message by emailing her here.

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