Governor Still Can’t See the Park for the Trees

A lot of work has been happening to stop a bill that would allow commercial logging in state parks from making its way onto any committee agenda at the legislature. SB 270 (HB 4182) is a bill that its proponents say is about forest health, or revenue, or fire prevention- actually, we can’t keep up with all of their excuses! We just know cutting trees in the small percentage of forested land that is protected is a bad idea.

Earlier this week, we were pretty sure we were going to see a committee substitute version of the bill show up on the agenda for next week’s meeting of House Agriculture and Natural Resources, but so far: nothing. In an effort to be prepared, we put in a request today for a public hearing in that committee should the bill be placed on the agenda. We will send action alerts if and when that happens.

One of the most impressive things we saw from citizens opposing this bill was from a Kanawha County sportsman who took money out of his own pocket to rent a booth at the WV Hunting and Fishing Show specifically to educate people about the ramifications of logging in our parks. Kevin Hughart is a lawyer who enjoys hunting and fishing, but agrees that preserving areas of our state so that our kids might get to see “trees you can’t get your arms around” is not a partisan issue, not just an environmental issue, but one we should all be able to agree on. In 29 hours, he collected 2,288 signatures from sportsmen and women who oppose this bill and, moreover, who have pledged to rethink voting for any legislator who supports it.

Kevin was introduced from the floor of the Senate today by Senator Mike Woelful (D-Cabell) who has been a passionate opponent of the bill. The Senator also introduced the petition and it was placed into the day’s journal.

You can add your voice to those who want to Save our State Parks by emailing members of the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee to tell them, “Kill the bill!”

Here is a list of email addresses for the committee that can be copied and pasted into an email address field to send an email to all committee members:

george.ambler@wvhouse.gov, bill.anderson@wvhouse.gov, martin.atkinson@wvhouse.gov, scott.brewer@wvhouse.gov, jeff.campbell@wvhouse.gov, roy.cooper@wvhouse.gov, jeff.eldridge@wvhouse.gov, allen.evans@wvhouse.gov, michael.folk@wvhouse.gov, bill.hamilton@wvhouse.gov, roger.hanshaw@wvhouse.gov, jason.harshbarger@wvhouse.gov, ken.hicks@wvhouse.gov, shirley.love@wvhouse.gov, dana.lynch@wvhouse.gov, carol.miller@wvhouse.gov, riley.moore@wvhouse.gov, john@overington.com, ralph.rodighiero@wvhouse.gov, roger.romine@wvhouse.gov, isaac.sponaugle@wvhouse.gov, joe.statler@wvhouse.gov, amy.summers@wvhouse.gov, robert.thompson@wvhouse.gov, danny.wagner@wvhouse.gov

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  1. Leave the state parks in their natural state.

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