WV Rivers News: March 2023

One Week to Go! What Policy Priorities Are Still in Play

in the WV Legislature?

HB 3189, the PFAS Protection Act, passed the House in a vote of 82-9. It’s now referenced to Government Organization Committee in the Senate. Contact your Senators and urge them to pass the PFAS Protection Act! Learn more about the PFAS problem here.

HB 3110, which increases funding for inspectors with the WVDEP Office of Oil and Gas (OOG), passed the House unanimously. Unfortunately the bill that passed was weakened, leaving the state with less than 20 inspectors to oversee more than 75,000 wells. See coverage on HB 3110 in the Charleston Gazette-Mail here. It is now referenced to the Finance Committee in the Senate. Contact your Senators and encourage them to fully fund the WVDEP Office of Oil and Gas! Read our fact sheet here.

SB 468, which permanently reauthorizes off-road vehicles in Cabwaylingo State Park, passed the Senate on a vote of 29-4. A proposed amendment to open additional public lands to off-road vehicles was defeated in committee. However, the amended bill does allow connector trails from public lands to private lands. It now goes over to the House.

We Bid Farewell to Kathleen, and Invite You to Join the WV Rivers Team!

This February we bid farewell to our Outreach Manager, Kathleen Tyner. Kathleen has served in various positions within the organization for over thirteen years!

She helped us grow into the organization we are today by updating our webpage, managing our databases, developing our communications, establishing our brand, and so much more!

We are excited so see what’s in store for Kathleen as she expands her career with Generation WV’s NewForce training program.

Kathleen leaves big shoes to fill at WV Rivers, but if you or someone you know are feeling up to the task, check out our job posting for the new Communications Coordinator.

The Communications Coordinator will work closely with staff to execute external communications strategies across programs and campaigns including water policy, climate, public lands and regional watershed advocacy. The ideal candidate has experience using digital media platforms, strong written communication skills, and interest in encouraging citizen advocacy to protect water resources. This is a full-time position with benefits, and operates remotely within West Virginia. See the full job description here.

Reflections on the Recent Train Derailment

If you are up to date on current events, you most likely heard the news about the Norfolk Southern train derailment in East Palestine, OH earlier this month and the resulting chemical contamination that followed.

Our Ohio River Coordinator, Heather Sprouse, breaks down the details surrounding the derailment in her new blog.

Read about how this chemical disaster is part of a bigger picture of systemic environmental injustice in our region. Listen to Heather’s radio interview on WTSQ starting at 34:45.

Learn to Monitor Water Quality and Report Pollution

With funding from Mountain Resource Conservation and Development, WV Rivers is offering a free water quality monitoring training on March 25 at the Yew Mountain Center near Hillsboro, WV.

This training will focus on monitoring streams receiving runoff from roads used to haul coal in the Greenbrier and Cherry River Watersheds. Space is limited to 20 registrants. Priority will be given to individuals residing within the region.

Register here.

Other Upcoming Events!

March 8 at 12pm – Ohio River Basin Alliance Discussion Series: Student Voices in Ohio River Basin Research

The Ohio River Basin Alliance Discussion Series is an opportunity for communities to share their knowledge and passion for the Ohio River. This seasonal series of webinars features topics in Clean Water, Ecosystem Restoration, Research, Education, Transportation, Flood Control, and Recreation. The series is hosted by ORSANCO, and is supported by the Foundation for Ohio River Education (FORE), Ohio University Voinovich School, Thomas More University, West Virginia Rivers, and Kenton County Soil and Water Conservation District.

March 23 at 7pm – A Conversation on Headwaters: Last Fall, WV Rivers met with Mon Forest Towns about recreation opportunities in the Mon Forest. The message was loud and clear: ensure our tradition of pure, pristine Mon Forest headwaters now and for future generations. We want to hear from you on how best to protect these headwaters and hear any of your concerns for headwaters policy. Please join us for a “Conversation on Headwaters” on March 23, 2023, at 7:00 p.m. Sign up for your place in the conversation.

March 25 at 12:30pm – Inflation Reduction Act Roadshow – Wheeling, WV: Join several West Virginian organizations over the coming months to learn about how individuals, municipalities, and organizations in West Virginia can benefit from millions of dollars of investments contained in the Inflation Reduction Act. Last summer, Congress passed the Inflation Reduction Act which includes historic investments in clean energy, energy efficiency and community development initiatives. At these events, community members and elected officials will have the opportunity to learn from experts from around the state about how to put these investments to use in homes and communities.

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