Grass Roots Environmental Effort Newsletter

August, 1999


Having attended 9 of the 10 previous annual WVEC Fall Conventions, I find that I have looked forward to each one with eagerness. This year we will have a special presentation on publicly owned forests, "FOREVER WILD," that will be a treat and inspiration to us all. The Convention's dates are September 17, 18, and 19 at Camp Pioneer in beautiful Randolf County.

I wholeheartedly agree with past President Jim Kotcon's assessment that WVEC consists of the most exciting, friendly, interesting, committed, intelligent, fun-loving, dedicated, creative, warm and knowledgeable people in West Virginia. I am drawn like a magnet to return for fulfillment by associating with these people who care deeply and are committed deeply to the protection of our state's Beauty and environment.

In 1998, I was ready to "throw in the towel" and retire to other pursuits in life. However, David Grubb's keynote address at last year's convention inspired me to volunteer to be your President, and what a year it has been. Never one to sit idly by, when I get involved, I get involved all over. My theme, as President , has been to look at ourselves and our organization "straight in the eye" and ask ourselves the following questions:

For the last 10 years, have we been doing the "BEST" we can for West Virginia's environment? What are the "GOOD" things we have been doing? What are we doing that needs changing? What should we do differently in order to be more successful in protecting our environment?.

First, I want to thank all WVEC members for allowing me to be your President and a special thanks to all of you that have given me your input concerning our organization over the past year. Understanding that we must present a unified, united front with all of our coalition partners in order to be successful in challenging the special interests only concerned with profits, sometimes rubs egos and agendas raw. We must continue, however, as this is our biggest strength and the best course of action that has, and will continue to, in my opinion, allow us to be successful.

I am confident that taking a good hard look at our strengths and weaknesses and the pruning, if necessary, of the weaknesses will allow our WVEC to be a stronger, better organized, and, therefore, a more successful organization as we continue the good fight.

Just look at what we have accomplished in the last decade. With very little visible assets, and with very strong support and commitment of the public and our environmental partners we have remained dedicated to our mission:

"To facilitate communication and cooperation among citizens in promoting environmental protection in West Virginia, to assist in organizing grassroots 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." We have great accomplishments of which to be proud.

We must, in my opinion, nurture, embrace, sustain, enhance and support all of our environmental partners by all means necessary, including:

Better and faster communications, better listening skills, better organization skills, better use of our talents and skills and better work ethics (working harder and smarter).

Promoting our interests without compromising our integrity and allegiance to WVEC's goals and objectives as established yearly by the members at our fall convention.

The pride I take in being a part of this organization's past performances and the dedication that I have toward helping it achieve its goals and objectives has been such a consuming interest in the 10 years since the formation of WVEC, that I now find myself so entrenched that I see no way of becoming disengaged. As I move from the Presidency to the office of Past President, I assure you that I will continue to work to assist WVEC in sticking to its mission and help in any way I can in obtaining WVEC Goals and Objectives.

I, as President, hereby issue a General invitation to all WVEC members and to all Citizens of the Great State of West Virginia to please attend our WVEC Fall Conference this year, and bring your families and friends with you to enjoy the camaraderie and fun and good feeling that can be yours as you associate with and help us that are dedicated to protecting the environment in West Virginia.

We firmly believe that you agree the following are important: air clean enough to breathe; water fit to drink; a clean, healthy environment in which to live, grow, raise our children, work and play.

Please come and enjoy the good feeling that comes from doing your part in helping to protect your and your children's futures. Come, let us reason together. Come, and be a part of making a difference. Come, and feel better about yourself. Come and help. See below for agenda.

I thank you again for the honor and privilege of being WVEC president. I am going to remain involved. You can reach me at: 304-286-2204 or E-mail: gsd01785@mail.wvnet.edu or at HC-68, Box-25, Ivydale, WV 25113.


Mountain Musings

by Charlie Feldhake

On Friday August 6, Larry Gibson was walking near Oak Hill when confronted by someone claiming to be a heavy equipment operator for a coal mining operation. He was angry about Larry's protest-walk claiming Larry was a threat to his job. He claimed he left a $9 an hour job in Kentucky for a $20 an hour job in West Virginia and there was no way he could get another job making that much if his mine got shut down.

That got me thinking a little bit about how the free market economy operates. Before I continue with this train of thought I would like to first state that I think underground miners deserve every penny they make and then some. But, it would seem like a heavy equipment operator on a mountaintop removal site isn't doing anything too different from a heavy equipment operator on a construction site.

So, if this guy is telling the truth, why is a coal company paying him more than twice as much as a construction company would? In a free market economy you only have to pay as much as you need to in order to attract your required labor. Why would a non-union coal company doing mountaintop removal in an area with high unemployment pay twice as much as a construction company?

One answer might be that they do it out of the goodness of their hearts. It might make them feel good to pay their employees extra. Somehow that answer doesn't ring true. If they were so civic-minded they would not try to dodge paying Workers Comp., and they would make sure they paid a fair property tax so that schools in the counties in which they operate were adequately funded. They would also make sure reclaimed land was put back to a economically beneficial use for future generations.

If there is a differential between what the free market dictates a job skill is worth and what a mountaintop removal job is paying, then just what is being bought with that extra money?

I have heard it said that if a miner doesn't like what he sees being done to a community by his coal company and dares to complain that he is likely to be fired. Could it be that the extra money is buying silence?

I have heard horror stories of how mountaintop removal is ruining wells, cracking foundations of houses, threatening people's safety with blasting debris, and causing dust and noise pollution. Could it be this extra money is buying insensitivity to doing harm to fellow citizens?

I have heard stories of people that refused to sell their property to coal companies, fearing to let their children play outside because coal trucks suddenly started swerving into their yard. I have heard of people who refused to sell out having their dogs mysteriously shot. Could it be that extra money occasionally buys harassment?

You routinely hear of companies shutting down mines and terminating jobs with no more than minutes notice. Could it be that extra money is buying apathy over how the company treats other workers? Could it be to pay for working with no job security and working with the knowledge that when their own job is terminated no one will protest? Could it be to help them not think about the overwhelming probability that they will indeed someday be terminated?

Could the extra pay be a reward for being willing to swallow company propaganda hook, line, and sinker? Could it be to help convince employees that illegal permits are really OK and that being allowed to break the law is a good trend for our country? Could it be to create a climate of desperation so employees will do anything for the company just so they can hang on to the life-style dangled before them with no alternatives.

I don't claim to know why those Mountain Top Removal jobs pay so well. I just can't help wondering why they pay more than other jobs.


Quarry Industry Poised to Undermine Law

by Rick Eades

After the industry Quarry bill was defeated in 1998 and dead-on-arrival in 1999, the corpse now has fresh lipstick. Former House Judiciary lawyer Mike McThomas and Mike Clowser (point man for the one-month-old Crushed Aggregate Association) reflects an industry that wants to quietly bury environmental concerns in rock dust. Look out Wood, Pocahontas, and Hardy County groups already disgusted with a virtually unregulated industry.

Interim legislative meetings have revealed some bad omens for environmental interests. DEP's Rocky Parsons offered his quarry slide show for an hour during August interims (aerial photos across the state, with a litany of positive comments and little mention of controversial permits). That after a so-called stakeholder meeting in July occurred with only 2 citizens receiving prior notice from the legislative committee co-chair, Herb Snyder.

The law is being drafted as you read this, and scary provisions could eliminate a 100-foot buffer from roads, leave groundwater unprotected, underfund any pretense of reclamation, and dissolve the only good provision in existing 28-year-old law to protect sensitive areas. Worse, the industry wants to grandfather existing permits, some of which would allow mineing for 100 years without meeting new requirements, and as always will strive to underfund the enforcement program. Call your elected officials now, and co-chair Herb Snyder (304-357-7866) ASAP and ask for realistic funding and sensitive area protection.


Lawmaker & Coal - MTR Humble Pie

by Rick Eades

In the August interim legislative meetings, coal heavyweights and DEP regulators sat stone-faced, as the legislative committee heard a nearly 2-hour presentation from the lawyers in the MTR mining lawsuit settlement. God Bless Judge Haden, but on this day DEP lawyer Brian Glaser was the one serving humble pie to all.

By Glaser's own admission, complemented by Joe Lovett, the DEP was not enforcing the law in so many areas that legislators must have felt blind-sided. Lawmakers had hard looks for the faces in the crowd which had repeatedly assured them the law was being followed, and had fed them so much BS the past 2 years.

Besides the buffer zone rule that still is unsettled, the DEP had not ensured that water rights had been protected, had no objective policy to restore land to approximate original contour, had no real post mining land use where variances had been granted, had butchered the use of "woodlands" as an approved post mining land use and.....you get the picture.

Moreover, Committee chair and SB681 sponsor, Lloyd Jackson, seemed concerned that the settlement did not go far enough. He was surprised that blasting issues had not been resolved and surprised by an obvious underestimation of the cost to oversee the technical adherence to the settlement provisions. He also asked if old sites that had been poorly reclaimed could be addressed. NOT! As Glaser and Lovett noted, brutal compaction of poor quality soils have essentially left a wasteland. It will be a lot harder to sell tickets to this year's coal gala, celebrating reclamation heroes. Most of these folks may still be bloated from such copious quantities of crow.

Let's not forget the sweat and tears of Jimmy Weekley, Carlos Gore, Patricia Bragg, the WV Highlands Conservancy, Cindy Rank, Pat McGinley, Joe Lovett and scores of others who have brought the truth to light. Stay tuned for the next round of tricks from the coal industry and their many hired guns, including the one in the Governor's mansion.


Blackwater Canyon Update

by Viv Stockman, WV Highlands Conservancy

The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between John Crites and Governor Underwood is still in the works. Lindy Point has not yet been transferred to the state park system.

As we await this small protection for the Canyon, the WV Highlands Conservancy continues its campaign to save the entire Canyon on several fronts. To learn about the many aspects of the campaign visit www.wvhighlands.org or e-mail inquiries to vivian@wvadventures.net.

Several months ago, Jason Huber, the Conservancy's attorney, filed an Endangered Species Act based-lawsuit against AWP on behalf of the threatened and endangered species living in Blackwater Canyon. We should soon have an announcement regarding the lawsuit.

More organizations have joined with the Conservancy in calling for the establishment of the Blackwater Canyon National Park. Your letters to elected officials and editors help tremendously in this campaign, so please keep 'em coming.


Several folks have asked how the Walk for the Mountains turned out. Answer: Great!

Vivian Stockman, for OVEC, www.ohvec.org

OVEC is in the midst of calculating the mileage right now-it looks like Larry Gibson logged a total of 492 miles.

Over 100 people turned up for the last event-the "Welcome Home" on the State Capitol grounds in Charleston on Saturday, August 21. Larry, Julian Martin and others gave moving speeches. At the end, everyone joined hands and sang songs about our mountains. The event had the feeling of a wonderful family reunion.

Throughout the walk, we had excellent press coverage, including quite a bit of TV news. Media in areas of the state that had never covered mountaintop removal before took note of the walk and explained the devastation caused by this form of coal mining. The Walk for the Mountains was quite a success in spreading the word about mountaintop removal. Thanks to all of you who helped!

One other note-send money if you can. We have encountered staggering walk-related bills, especially the cell phone bill. Please earmark your donations for "Walk for the Mountains." Send donations to: OVEC, POB 6753, Huntington, WV 25773.


Greenwashing the Public Schools

Bill Willers, Biology Dept., University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, willers@uwosh.edu

In the book "Let's Talk About Clearcutting: A Forestry Book For Youth," published in 1998 by the Pennslyvania Bureau of Forestry and "endorsed" by the Pennsylvania Forestry Assn., the first sentence is "Let's talk about clearcutting - what it is, what it is not, why some people do not like it, and why it is useful."

The last sentence in the book is "So you see...when clearcutting is done in the right place, in the right way, and at the right time, it can be good for people, good for wildlife, and good for the forest."

Everything in between is clever, subtle propaganda (dispensed with public money).

The campaign to get industrial propaganda to children is multipronged - through countless governmental and private programs that look valid on the surface but that convey the industrial point of view.

Project Learning Tree (PLT) is in the public schools in every state. Teachers, many of whom know virtually nothing about forests, are easily convinced that PLT programs are objective, and so they become tools for conveying the industrial view of forest to future generations.

New Blasting Rules & Aftershocks

by Rick Eades

Blasting rules to meet the new MTR mandates have been drafted by the "Stakeholder Process," which had a 3:1 initial and 16:1 final ratio of "I Love Coal" folks to citizens concerned with blasting damages. Coalfield residents who have suffered damages and worked for 2 years with the legislature to address their needs for protection and compensation must be feeling aftershocks.

The new law creates the Office of Explosives and Blasting within DEP, yet as recently as August 18, new DEP Director Castle has offered some coalfield residents a remedy from what they feel is poor responsiveness from DEP's Logan field office. Mr. Castle has directed those residents to forward complaints to the Nitro Office. Kudos to Mr. Castle, but he will be hard pressed to run the OEB, given its required tasks and pathetic allocation of funds from the legislature.

Water levels in wells will not be measured prior to blasting as the law requires. The simple reality, as I noted many times to legislators last session, is that liability for damaging wells to check water levels and interrupting supply will preclude any sensible contractor from collecting the data. Again, residents will have no baseline water level data on which to base claims. Bye-bye to the cornerstone of well replacement that coal and lawmakers wanted so much credit for in March.

Worse, the claims and arbitration process that was developed with such good intentions traps citizens if they seek to use it. As the new rules move through the legislature, the arbitration provisions may well allow for a horribly imbalanced process. Draft rules were offered that could see arbitration with a coal executive, a blasting or engineering expert, and their attorney sitting across from Mom, Pop, and their (above $1,000 costs) pro bono representative. Good luck, Mom and Pop!

Studies mandated by the new law to determine blast impacts and set design standards for preventing damage are at present a bigger pipe dream. First, the EPA in its environmental impact statement on the industry is going to allocate exactly zero dollars to measuring water level fluctuations in wells during blasting. That leaves the legislature to fund that and other research efforts, which DEP has estimated will costs $350K (and I contend that is a paltry sum to really do the job).

But the biggest gut punch to citizens and the DEP makes all the former issues (and many more unlisted herein) insignificant. With over 2,600 claims of blasting damage, a brand new claims process set up to deal with those damages, and all the studies required by law to be finished in 16 months, the legislature appropriated a whopping $100K to fund the new office until June of 2000. I wonder whose wisdom and influence contributed to such a robust and sincere commitment to the new OEB. Welcome to the whipping post, Mr. Castle.

Oh by the way, and with no correlation in any regard except for the amount of explosives used, the 314,000 tons used in West Virginia (90% in coal mining) is roughly equivalent to 1,000 Oklahoma City blasts per county per year. Perhaps a call to your legislator to suggest reasonable funding for the OEB would be appropriate.

Canyon Critters Study

by Viv Stockman for WVHC

The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between John Crites and Governor Underwood is still in the works. Lindy Point has not yet been transferred to the state park system.

As we await this small protection for the Canyon, the WV Highlands Conservancy continues its campaign to save the entire Canyon on several fronts. To learn about the many aspects of the campaign visit: www.wvhighlands.org, or e-mail inquiries to vivian@wvadventures.net.

Several months ago, in one arm of the campaign to save the Canyon, Jason Huber, the Conservancy's attorney, filed an Endangered Species Act based-lawsuit against Appalachian Wood Products (AWP) on behalf of the threatened and endangered species living in Blackwater Canyon. An order by the judge in the case has cleared the way for the first-ever surveys of endangered species on AWP Canyon property.

More organizations have joined the Conservancy in calling for the establishment of the Blackwater Canyon National Park. The National Park Trust is featuring the Canyon as a potential new national park in its current report. Your letters to elected officials and editors help tremendously in this campaign, so please keep 'em coming.

TMDL Draft Report Comments

by Lew Baker

In June, the EPA released its draft TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Load) for dioxin for the Kanawha River, Pocatalico River and Armour Creek. The period to enter public comments ended on August 16. The following are excerpts from comments submitted to EPA by Lew Baker on behalf of the West Virginia Citizen Research Group and OVEC.

The West Virginia Citizens Research Group provided US EPA Region III Administrator McCabe and Assistant Administrator Voltaggio a dioxin fingerprint analysis for the Ohio and Kanawha Rivers, tracing most of the rivers' dioxin toxicity back to Monsanto at Nitro, WV. Dioxin with Monsanto's Agent Orange fingerprints can be recognized for hundreds of miles downstream in the Ohio River and its fish! Three decades after Vietnam, the Kanawha River's fish still contain unsafe levels of Agent Orange's dioxin. Thirty years after Vietnam, and EPA's negligence, Kanawha River fish still represent a one in a thousand cancer risk level. This draft TMDL did not compare fish data to risk levels, in order to establish load allocations, as did the EPA's Dioxin TMDL for the Columbia River.

On a spring day last year, the Kanawha's measured dioxin load was 25% greater than EPA's estimated total daily dioxin discharge from 104 pulp mills!

Data show that the highest dioxin concentration also coincided with the highest flow, a clear indication suspended sediments can account for most of the dioxin loading. Contaminated sediments, such as the Kanawha River hot spots discovered by EPA last year, may even account for most of the loading under moderate to low flow conditions. More data should be collected. Will it be?

The TMDL study failed to mention EPA's own Contaminated Sediment Management Strategy document, which calls for cleanup of seriously contaminated sediments by the responsible party (in this case Monsanto), with Superfund program oversight. An honest omission? Will this be corrected?

Will EPA add the dioxin contaminated sediments in the Nitro area to its National Inventory of Contaminated Sediments? Somehow they have been omitted from that inventory, even though EPA has known about them for many years. Will this be omission be corrected?

Will EPA ask the US Army Corps of Engineers to cooperate in planning how to deal with the serious dioxin contaminated sediments in the Nitro area? Dredging may stir up dioxins and let them spread, even if done carefully. Dredging cannot be done without their support or involvement.

The Corps issues permits for dredging of the rivers' sediments. A permit has been issued by WV DEP and the Corps to Voyager Coal to mine the Kanawha River's sediments for coal fines, between the Coal River and Nitro. This permit was issued over citizens' objections, as it violated the EPA/Corps guidance, as well as common sense. The draft TMDL failed to mention commercial dredging, or even barge traffic for that matter, as potential means of re-suspending contaminated sediments. It happens here. Will the TMDL study be revised to acknowledge this fact?

The Corps has an outdated (1981) Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the effects of dredging clean sediments in the Ohio River. As it is also contaminated with dioxins, PCBs, etc., shouldn't the EPA and the Corps be writing a new EIS on the effects of commercial dredging of contaminated sediments in these waters? Will the draft TMDL be revised to recommend input from the Corps?

The draft report's multiple omissions speak volumes, leaving little doubt the TMDL team at Region III hasn't put forward the effort equal to the task. Therefore a new TMDL team should be assembled at EPA Region III. If the multiple shortcomings in the draft TMDL listed above cannot be remedied prior to the TMDL's deadline, then the new TMDL team should begin gathering the available information from EPA's RCRA, CERCLA, and NPDES programs to produce a new draft ASAP. The new team should offer all other willing stake-holders a place at the table from the beginning, and be open to honest dialogue.


What to do with Tires?

by Tom Degen

Judiciary Subcommittee A is studying tires, and at the August meeting I heard the re-hashed discussions of whether facilities should pay or charge to burn tires, framed by extremely suspect claims that waste tires are a "fuel" that burns cleaner than coal. Those discussions are advanced by a distinct minority of the committee, while the rest of the members are quiet. It seems to me that the committee is floundering over the question of what to do with tires.

As I walked across the Capitol's roof on my way to the legislators' offices, I noticed that it was being replaced. The material being used is rubber, widely considered to be the best roofing material according to my friends in the roofing business. When I was working on my truck last week, I noticed there are rubber pieces in the fender wells to deflect mud. On my way home, I drove through a stretch of interstate that was being repaved. When the little country road that I live on was repaved earlier this year, the roadbase was built up to widen the road. The other day when I bought new tires for my truck, I couldn't help but notice that they are made from rubber.

I know that the technology exists to use rubber from tires in all of these applications, yet I wondered how much recycled rubber from tires was actually in all these products.

When I got home, I wiped my feet on our doormat that is made from strips of rubber cut from tires. The facility that makes these is operated by the solid waste authority of which I am a member, and also makes bed liners for trucks, speed bumps for parking lots, and playground equipment out of the same material. The fledgling operation is in trouble due to the fact that the grant programs that made it possible are drying up.

The answers of what to do with tires are all around us. Please contact the committee members and suggest to them that they can use various combinations of requirements and incentives to encourage these proactive uses. I think they would appreciate the help.



by Tom Degen

At Judiciary Subcommittee A's August meeting, Rocky Parsons, Assistant Chief, Office of Mining & Reclamation, submitted a letter that presented the DEP's concerns and objectives concerning quarry legislation. Briefly, these are:

Regulate sand, sandstone, and limestone;

Provide for site specific mining and reclamation plans;

Requiring reclamation bond;

Providing for permanent disposal areas for excess material (read "valley fill")

Regulate chert, flint, slate, and dolomite;

Authority to allow transfer, reassignment or sale of permits;

Changing inspection frequency from 15 days to 30 days or as often as necessary;

Monitoring and protecting quantity and quality of surface and groundwater;

Water rights replacement;

Public hearings on permit applications and significant revisions;

Authority for permit modification and revisions;

Providing for exception to current 100 foot buffer;

Training and certification of blasters;

Changing enforcement from criminal to civil and restricting the issuance of cessation orders to situations of imminent harm to environment, public safety, or failing to abate a Notice of Violation;

Providing opportunity for consent agreements;

Exempting federal, state, and locally funded construction from permit requirements;

Reclamation fund to provide for rehabilitation of abandoned sites;

Requiring pre-blast surveys for new permits;

Grandfathering for existing disturbed areas that have been stabilized.

Many disagreements exist on how these would be implemented. For example, there is merit to the idea of site specific plans, but these plans provide the opportunity to write in what some consider too much discretion on the director's (and the applicant's) behalf. Grandfathering of only existing disturbed areas is great, but only requiring pre-blast surveys on new permits essentially means very few pre-blast surveys would be required. Public hearings on significant revisions sounds good, but who gets to request a hearing, and how one defines significant revisions will have a great effect on that. Water rights replacement will probably not happen without a presumption of liability similar to that in the oil and gas law.

Funding issues raised during the meeting included the low permit fees, low bonding and insurance requirements, and whether to fund reclamation from a bond pool or a per ton severance tax.

According to Rocky, there are 130 sites covering 11,000 acres in West Virginia. Last year, 16 million tons of rock were quarried. When asked how many counties these quarries were in, he said that they were pretty well distributed. When asked how many abandoned sites there were, Rocky said he didn't know, they were everywhere, many of them are small.

I have heard that staff will be working on a draft bill for the next interim session, so I would urge anyone with concerns to contact committee members, especially the co-chairs, Senator Snyder and Delegate Linch.


AGENDA -- 11th Annual WVEC Convention September 17, 18 & 19, 1999 Camp Pioneer, Beverly, WV

"Moving into the 21st Century, Protecting our Environment Against Degradation"

Friday, Sept. 17, 1999

5:00 - 9 PM Registration

6:00 - 8:00 PM - Open Spaces - Introduction by Mary Pat Peck & Liz Sampson. Design and conduct your own Workshop, Your Subject. New Concept that can be very Interesting.

Corridor H Alternatives and Rivers Coalition presentations

8:00 PM - Informal celebration/discussion with Larry Gibson and his Walk For the Mountains

9:00 PM - Free time and informal work groups on the latest issues


Saturday, Sept. 18, 1999

7:30- 8:30 AM - Breakfast - Bring your own or reserve for $5

8:45- Noon: Registration

9:00 AM Welcome - Elizabeth Sampson, President, WVEC

9:10 - 10:15 AM "We all live on a DOT" Session. Everyone participates!!!

1) introduce yourself; 2) explain what issue brought you here; 3) what you would like to receive from this convention; and 4) what got you off the couch

10:15 - 10:25 Break - Ten Minutes!

10:25 to 11:00 AM - Issue Reviews, Introduction by Liz Sampson: Lobby team describes legislative initiatives-- 1) Solid Waste, Quarries, Tires: Tom Degen 2) Mining Issues: to be announced 3) Election Reform: Mike Withers 4) Clean Water: Rick Eades 5) Clean Air: Denise Poole 6) Blackwater Canyon: Vivian Stockman

11:00 - Noon - Legislators' Panel - What do they need to hear from us to convince them to promote our legislative agenda?

Noon - 1:30 PM - Regional Meetings and LUNCH (bring your own). Join with others in your region to discuss and identify local issues. Select your Regional member of the WVEC Board.

1:30 PM - 2:45 PM - Plenary Session: "FOREVER WILD", an inspiring presentation about protecting our publicly owned lands, by Robin Smith, Representative for the Ohio Region of The Native Forest Council, Eugene, Oregon. Followed with Discussion/Questions.

2:45-3:00 Break

3:00-4:00 Concurrent workshops (facilitators)

1) Mountaintop Removal: Frank Young; 2) Utility Deregulation: Jim Kotcon, Linda Mallet; 3) PERC-WV(Election Reform): Janet Fout, Norm Steenstra; 4) Timber Issues (public/private): Mike Withers

4:00 - 5:00 PM Concurrent workshops (facilitators)

5) Effective Press Releases & Media Contact: Vivian Stockman; 6) Quarries, tires & solid waste: Tom Degen et al; 7) Poultry 8) TMDLs and other Water Issues (e.g., Dioxin): Evan Hanson & Lew Baker; 9) Air Quality Regulations: Mary O'Ferrell & Jim Kotcon

5:00 PM - Annual North/South Softball - Bring your glove

6:00-7:00 PM - Pot Luck Supper

7:00 PM - Environmental Activities for Young People (ages 6-12) - to be announced

7:00 -9:00 PM - Group Discussion - What are our legislative concerns? Priorities set Sunday AM by Group.

9:00 PM Silent Auction Concludes. Top Bids Announced

10:00 PM Camp Fire - Songs, Fun & Frolic. (Bring your musical instrument)


Sunday, September 19

7:30 - 8:45 AM - Breakfast On your own or reserve for $5

8:30 AM - 9:00 AM - Non-denomination Church Worship Services, conducted by Mary Ellen O'Farrell

9:00 AM - 10:30 AM - Continue Legislative Discussions

10:30 AM - 10:45 AM - Break

10:45 AM - Noon - Building Consensus on a Legislative Agenda. Vote for your priorities. Volunteer for Campaign Committees. Write bills!

Noon - Wrap-up and Clean Up

12:30 - 1:30 PM - WVEC Board Meeting (elect officers, schedule future meetings, etc.)


Plan on donating something to the auction. Food, art, a service, and/or white elephants cluttering up your home are excellent (and fun) things to bring. The more creative you get, the more fun and funds we'll bring in. For more details and suggestions on how you can support the auction, call us at 346-5891.


From Elkins, WV go south on Rt 219 to Beverly. In Beverly, turn left on Files Creek Road. Travel approximately 3 miles to 4-H Camp Rd., turn right and you're there! If you have any problems, call the camp at (304) 636-3638.


State Forests Comments

Give your input on the state's forests. Dates for the WV Division of Forestry's release of draft plans for the state forests are:

Cabin Creek------------------Oct/Nov 1999

Seneca and Calvin Price-----Nov/Dec 1999

Kumbrabow------------------Jan/Feb 2000

Panther------------------------Mar/Apr 2000

Cabwaylingo-----------------May/June 2000

Kanawha----------------------July/Aug 2000

Coopers Rock----------------Sept/Oct 2000

Submit your concerns for the state forests NOW, so that you can have a voice as the drafts are being developed. Call 558-2788.


MTR Comment Period

Judge Haden's comment period on the proposed mountaintop removal settlement ends on September 30. He has promised to personally review all submitted comments. To let him know how you feel about mountaintop removal, please send a letter to:

Judge Haden
Clerk, United States District Court
PO Box 3924
Charleston, West Virginia 25339

Information on the settlement is on-line at www.fedcourtwvsd.com and hard copies are available at the federal courthouses in Charleston and Huntington.