“Accidental Activists”

There are plenty of stories of people who became “activists” after last year’s water crisis.  One of those is Jeni Burns, whose Charleston catering business, Ms. Groovy’s Kitchen, was forced to shut down for several days because of the chemical spill.

During the 2014 session, Jeni spent many hours pounding the marble halls advocating for S.B. 373, the landmark water protection bill that was passed unanimously last year in response to the spill.

She’s back this year, representing the West Virginia Sustainable Business Council, which she co-founded with Cornucopia owner Nancy Ward.  Once again Jeni is part of the team that’s “defending our water” against all the bills that propose to weaken water protections.  But that’s not all.

Jeni has managed to get a bill introduced in both houses—S.B. 352 and H.B. 2603—that ultimately would enable the development of an affordable recycling program for businesses, by enabling them to hire a waste hauler without that hauler being required to obtain a “certificate of need.” And it’s moving, having already passed the Senate Natural Resources Committee!

Read more about the WV Sustainable Business council here and here.

Another “activist” begotten by the water crisis is Lori Magana.  Last year, Lori channeled her distress and frustration over the water crisis into the very creative activity of making “Protect Our Water” cookies (see photo). . . which she subtly distributed to legislators.  And this year, she’s back at it again!  For example, when the House Judiciary Committee assembled to take up Category A on Friday, each delegate was greeted by one of Lori’s cookies at his/her place around the table.  How could they possibly have voted no?  😀

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