Tranquil scene on the Greenbrier River. Photo by John Farrell, Board Member
Freshwater Folk Festival Fun
What a great day at the Freshwater Folk Festival! Lots of kids came by our table for some hands on activities about recycling, scratch art watershed creatures and puzzles.
Lots of adults stopped by for discussion about water quality, recreational use of the river and future events we are planning. Many people also picked up lots of material for reading.
The fight against MVP is making national and international news ever since the Manchin-Schumer “side deal” became known. This is the deal that used the urgency of climate change and inflation reduction to undermine established environmental safeguards and push through the MVP. Now that folks are paying attention, let’s let them know not every West Virginian agrees with Joe!
ACT NOW: Tell Congress to say NO to
Senator Manchin’s “Dirty Energy” Side Deal!
Click the link below to read and sign our petition:
West Virginians Against the Manchin-Schumer “Dirty Energy” Deal
This petition against the Manchin-Schumer side deal is co-sponsored by Indian Creek Watershed Association and Greenbrier River Watershed Association. We will share it with President Biden and members of Congress when they return in early September to consider action on the “side deal” Manchin made to secure his vote for climate action progress in the Inflation Reduction Act.
Deni Elliott on DC & MVP Protest
Deni Elliott from Greenbrier County was among West Virginians in Washington on September 8, 2022 that met with the state's congressional delegation and protest the Manchin side deal. She discusses what occurred yesterday with @HoppyKercheval
WATCH HERE: https://wvmetronews.com/channel/
Lawmakers hear pros and cons of
State Park off-road riding
September 12, 2022 |Chris Lawrence |MetroNews
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Two former, longtime employees of the West Virginia State Park System implore lawmakers to reject the idea of opening up West Virginia State Parks to off road recreational riding.
Members of the Parks, Recreation, and Natural Resources Subcommittee heard presentations from both sides about the pros and cons of opening up West Virginia’s State Parks to mechanized riding during the interim committee meetings in Charleston.
Advocates believe West Virginia is missing the mark in the mid-Atlantic with the current prohibition. Some believe as a user group, the off road enthusiasts should have a greater access to public lands in the Mountain State because of the economic power they wield for investment in the state.
“I think West Virginia’s terrain and opportunities are actually a lot better than other states. It tells me the policy environment probably could be more welcoming and the state could be investing more in attracting outdoor recreation industries to the state,” said Ben Burr in a presentation to the sub committee.
Burr is the Executive Director of the Blue Ribbon Coalition which fights for access to public land nationally for a wide range of mechanized use, including off-road vehicles.
He told lawmakers all of West Virginia’s surrounding states have a much higher level of revenue and interest from off-road enthusiast because of their friendlier policies. According to Burr, Ohio ranked 8th, Pennsylvania ranked 6th, Maryland 23rd, Virginia 16th, and Kentucky 28th in the value added to the outdoor recreational economy. He said West Virginia never ranked above 40th in the category.
“There’s a lot of states that have made those kinds of investments and the tend to see a good ROI and the outdoor recreation industry does look for those policy invitations to come into different places,” he explained.
However, retired State Parks Chief Sam England and retired longtime Park Ranger Scott Durham were adamantly against the idea. Although neither had a problem with off-road riding, they did not believe State Parks is the place for it.
“Most citizens enjoy ORV use, no question, but the overwhelming majority of citizens are not in favor of those same off-highway vehicles on their parks,” said England.
Story continues HERE
View from the top of Peter's Mountain shows the effects of the pipeline, Greenville, W.Va., on Thursday, Sept. 1, 2022. Photo Carlos Bernate for NPR
West Virginians divided over natural gas pipeline despite Manchin's support
September 07, 2022 |Laura Benshoff|All Things Considered/NPR
GREENVILLE, W.Va. — The Mountain Valley Pipeline exists as a 303-mile-long chain with hundreds of missing links. Without all of its federal permits, the natural gas project cannot cross Jefferson National Forest or many of the streams and wetlands in its proposed path from West Virginia to North Carolina.
That includes one segment at the bottom of Maury Johnson's family farmland in mountainous Monroe County, W.Va. "It's built from there over to the next hollow, and they can't cross that stream," Johnson says, pointing about halfway down the ridge, near a small patch where he grows corn, pumpkins and zinnias.
That could change soon. When Congress passed historical climate spending last month, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) announced that his support had hinged on future legislation that would change the process for issuing permits for large energy infrastructure projects such as this one. A one-page summary released by Manchin's office explicitly named steps to support the completion and operation of the Mountain Valley Pipeline. With Congress back in session, debate over this deal and what it means for the future of fossil fuels in the United States is resuming.
Lawsuits against the pipeline have been heard in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, based in Richmond, Va. The summary from Manchin's office called for requiring "the relevant agencies to take all necessary actions to permit the construction and operation of the Mountain Valley Pipeline and give the D.C. Circuit jurisdiction over any further litigation."
Manchin, whose office did not respond to requests for comment for this story, is the top recipient of donations from pipeline companies, according to Open Secrets.
Local activists balked at these proposals. "If you have a criminal on the street that breaks the law, do you hold the criminal accountable or do you change the law so that they're allowed to walk free?" says Autumn Crowe, program director with the non-profit West Virginia Rivers Coalition.
For some in the area, the pipeline symbolizes a larger battle happening over the future of fossil fuels in the United States, amid the transition to renewable energy. "People don't understand how many jobs are affected by gas, coal and oil," says Bill Ray Wiseman, who works in equipment sales related to coal mining. The pipeline cuts a path through some of his land in Summers County, W.Va., and he says the pasture that created improved his land.
Wiseman says he knows the gas, which is slated for markets in the eastern and southeastern United States, will not lower his gas bills, but he still thinks it should be completed, and fossil fuels should stay in the picture.
For utility companies and industrial energy users on the other end of the pipeline, natural gas is a part of their clean energy plans, since it would reduce their use of coal, Tezak says. "They look at the availability of natural gas as a way to do their job in a better and lower emissions fashion," she says.
But as climate scientists warn that the world must rapidly wean itself off fossil fuels, many others want it stopped.
"For the environmental community ... every incremental pipeline is one pipeline too many," says Tezak.
Story has been edited for length. Full story HERE
Manchin deal might not save
Mountain Valley pipeline
September 14, 2022 |Mike Soraghan|E&E News/EnergyWire
The Mountain Valley pipeline may never be finished — even if Sen. Joe Manchin’s permitting revamp becomes law.
Legislation from the West Virginia Democrat could give a boost to the beleaguered project by steering legal challenges to a different court. But regulatory experts caution that the proposal, as described by Manchin, won’t guarantee the project gets completed.
“It doesn’t necessarily direct an outcome,” said Ted Boling, a former longtime career federal official who served as associate director at the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) under former President Donald Trump. Boling is now a partner at Perkins Coie LLP.
The Mountain Valley pipeline, or MVP, is intended to carry natural gas more than 300 miles from northern West Virginia to southern Virginia. Approved in 2017, it is years behind schedule after environmental groups successfully challenged many of its federal permits in court. Manchin wants to free the project from the legal thicket. But Manchin’s initial plan didn’t appear to free it from all legal challenges.
By contrast, the Republican permitting proposal rolled out Monday would direct an outcome. Announced by West Virginia Republican Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, it says Mountain Valley’s new permits would not be “subject to judicial review.”
And “judicial review” is what has stymied MVP. In particular, the project has been slowed by the reviews of a three-judge panel at the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The delays have caused some investors to question whether the pipeline can be completed.
Unlike Capito, Manchin has not released specific legislative language for his proposal. When he announced his agreement on permitting last month with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), the summary he released had two basic elements related to MVP.
First, his plan would direct agencies to “take all necessary actions” to issue new permits for the pipeline. And it would give all jurisdiction on any further litigation to a different court: the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
The order to the agencies wouldn’t ensure the permits could survive court challenges. And while the D.C. Circuit might be more favorable, analysts said directing future challenges there implies that there will be more legal battles.
MVP has a poor record before three judges at the 4th Circuit who have been hearing cases on the project. They have canceled the project’s federal permits, saying the underlying federal reviews have not complied with environmental laws. Attorneys for Mountain Valley’s developers have pleaded in court filings unsuccessfully for a new slate of judges.
Story continues HERE
2022 Environmental Summit:
Growing West Virginia's Environmental Power
September 24-25, 2022
10:00 am - ?
Sunday Zip Line Tour @ 1:00 pm
WVU Natural Resource Center
1397 Chestnut Ridge Rd, Bruceton Mills, WV 26525
The 2022 Environmental Summit will bring together local and state environmental organizations in West Virginia to facilitate conversation around the opportunities and challenges facing the state’s environmental movement.
The event is free with a suggested donation of $25/day which covers food and lodging at the WVU Natural Resource Center outside of Morgantown.
Day One will include a conversation of how to grow West Virginia’s environmental movement and expand our voice/free time to hike in Coopers Rock or just relax at the venue/evening music with Shepherdtown's multi-talented Lucia Valentine (also with the WV Environmental Council and Mom's Clean Air Force). Day Two will focus on our legislative agenda for 2023.
Bring your hiking boots and visit nearby Coopers Rock State Forest. Sleep in a yurt! Stick around on Sunday and go zip lining! Live music on Saturday evening and time to relax around a campfire.
See you there!
National Clean Energy Week (NCEW)
VIRTUAL Policy Makers Symposium
NCEW celebrates the policies, industries, and innovations that power our daily lives while reducing emissions.
Ready to join the national clean energy conversation? REGISTER for the FREE VIRTUAL Policy Makers Symposium on September 27-29!
Join to hear from legislators, industry leaders, and clean energy advocates alike! Thanks to NCEW sponsors, registration is 100% FREE for all attendees.
Register for FREE here.
Mountain State Forest Festival
October 1-9, 2022
The Mountain State Forest Festival is the oldest and largest festival in the great state of WV. Each festival year brings a week long schedule of specialized events that cater to all ages and interests.
A 10K race starts off festival week, then outdoor sporting competitions such as strongman and lumberjack – tree climbing, wood chopping, fly fishing etc., a minor and major parade that draws over 85,000 spectators, a distinguished guest dinner with well-known speakers, a black-tie ball, a major act musical concert, an art and photography competition, and much more.
Also during festival week is a 3 day city park event bringing vendors and exhibits that cater to citizens and surrounding public school students with a designated “kid’s day at the park.” It’s a real cultural landmark that showcases WV in all its autumn glory.
The festival promotes the prudent development and conservation of our abundant natural resources for future generations and fosters economic activity in the community and state. Its mission is to provide a fall celebration for the citizens of the state of West Virginia, their guests and visitors during this time of great natural beauty.
Full schedule of events HERE
**Sign the petition: Replace Senator Joe Manchin as Energy Chairman
Senator Joe Manchin is determined to destroy plans to fund support for renewable energy, derail efforts to help consumers buy electric cars, and end any chance that the United States would take significant action to address climate change – all while raking in record cash from oil and gas companies and continuing to pocket the money from his highly suspect dirty coal deal.
Senator Manchin must face consequences for his betrayal of the American people, the President, and his colleagues in the House and Senate.
As the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, Manchin is responsible for regulating the fossil fuel industry and has enormous power over hearings on key climate policy issues. He has repeatedly ignored, stalled, or shot-down attempt after attempt to transition our country away from fossil fuels to sustainable alternatives such as wind and solar.
Sign the petition: Demand Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer replace Senator Manchin as Chair of the most important environmental committee in the U.S. Senate NOW.
FERC Monthly Virtual Open Meeting
September 22 2022 @ 10:00 AM
Virtual Open Meeting
Commission meeting held in Commission Meeting Room (Room 2C) at FERC Headquarters, 888 First St. N.E., Washington, D.C. 20426
A free live webcast is available for this meeting from 10:00 am - 11:00 am. All webcasts are archived for 3 months. Full info HERE
Make your time count by volunteering with your favorite non-profit to do any number of things from helping with river cleanups, to monitoring rivers and creeks, to making phone calls or licking envelopes. You make a difference.
Follow these pages
WV Rivers ~ WV Rivers is the statewide voice for water-based recreation and clean, drinkable, swim-able, and fishable rivers and streams-from the headwaters to wherever water flows in West Virginia.
Appalachian Voices ~ The Appalachian Voice has covered environmental, outdoor and cultural news in the Appalachian mountains since 1996. We provide thorough and well-researched journalistic news coverage to fit a niche not often covered by standard news media.
New River Conservancy ~ Protecting the water, woodlands and wildlife of the New River Watershed. River Clean Ups
Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance ~ Protecting the heritage, resources and economy of the Allegheny-Blue Ridge region.
WV Environmental Council ~ Facilitate communication and cooperation among citizens in promoting environmental protection in West Virginia, to assist in organizing grass roots groups, to facilitate interaction among established environmental organizations, and to correspond with all appropriate local, state, and federal agencies involved in the management of West Virginia's environment.
Wild Virginia ~ Along with our partners, alliances, and citizens like you, we press on in the fight against fracked gas pipelines in our region. The Mountain Valley Pipeline poses a great risk to our forests and surrounding communities. We are also working to improve habitat connectivity for wildlife throughout Virginia and to ensure that all of our waterways are fully protected in accordance with the law.
Stop the Money Pipeline ~ If we can stop the flow of money, we can stop the flow of oil. In early 2020, thirty-two organizations came together to form the Stop the Money Pipeline coalition. We stand on the shoulders of years of movement work pressuring financial institutions to act on climate.
If you appreciate the work we are doing, please consider a donation today.