E-Day Attendees Call For Solar Energy Policies and Protections for Our Air and Water

Over 125 student, citizen, civic, university and environmental group members attending Environmental Day (E-Day) made their presence known at the State Capitol with 35 display tables, meetings with legislators, and information about their impressive and vital work.

That work covers a lot of ground–protecting our water resources and mountains, cleaning acid mine drainage and sewage pollution from local streams, innovative gardening, trail building and maintenance, working to pass community solar and net metering legislation, preventing industry from quashing air monitoring data collected by citizens, educating and advocating for climate action, and redeveloping brownfield sites throughout the state.

Delegate Evan Hansen (D-Monongalia, 79) said, “It’s exciting to see so many people at E-Day who are working on so many vital issues and taking the lead while the people in this Chamber, the WV House of Delegates, are not taking the lead. You all are taking the lead to diversify our fuel mix and protect our air and water.” 

E-Day featured environmental champions and advocates sharing advice, encouraging attendees to keep up the excellent work, and letting legislators know what they think about crucial bills. Watch a recording of the E-Day rally here!

Lucia Valentine, WVEC Lobby Team Coordinator, reminded everyone it’s unacceptable that West Virginia has some of the highest electricity costs in the nation. “West Virginians deserve access to affordable energy, and the legislature has the ability to make that happen this year by passing the community solar bill.”

Angie Rosser, West Virginia Rivers Coalition Executive Director, took polluters to task, asking why they want to limit the use of air quality data collected by citizens where they live. “What are polluters afraid of? What are they trying to hide by attempting to quash the use of citizen data?… Industry portrays people like us who are concerned about clean air and clean water as radical activists. We need to remind our decision makers, who we elected to serve us, that expecting clean air and safe water is far from radical, it’s what we deserve as West Virginians no matter where we live.”  

Jillian Blair, Executive Policy Coordinator and past chair of the Sustainability Committee in the WVU Student Government Association and Secretary of the WVU Sierra Student Coalition, had a message for young people. “Being an advocate is not something you set out to do, it’s something you are called to become…it is not simply your young age that makes people want to listen to you, it’s the fact that something has moved you so deeply to call you to action. And for young people trying to figure out if you have a place as an advocate, I want you to know that you do, and it is yours for the taking.”

Delegate Mike Pushkin (D-Kanawha, 54) said breathing polluted air and drinking contaminated water are not partisan issues. They’re human issues that affect us all. Fighting for clean air and water should unite us. He called on the crowd to “go beyond contacting your legislators and consider running for office. We need to elect legislators who will put people ahead of profits.”

Adam Ortiz, Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency Region 3, speaks to WV Public Radio’s The Legislature Today.

Adam Ortiz, Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency Region 3, which includes WV, attended E-Day, visited tables and got to know members of the West Virginia environmental community. He applauded the work of students and attendees and underscored the importance of preserving and protecting our beautiful state.

E-Day advocates also talked with multiple press outlets, including the West Virginia Watch and WV Public Radio’s The Legislature Today.

Thanks to all who attended and supported E-Day, and we echo the words of Delegate Hansen. You are leading the way to protect and preserve our environment. Your work and your presence and advocacy at the legislature matter! Thank you for all you do!

You can find photographs of E-Day taken by Perry Bennett, the Chief Legislative Photographer, here.

We want to thank all of the incredible groups from all corners of the state for being a part of E-Day 2024. We invite you to check out these groups’ web pages and tap into their campaigns:

Updated: February 17, 2024 — 10:51 am

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