Grass Roots Environmental Effort Newsletter

August 2001

WVEC Fall Convention - Rethinking WVEC by Donald S. Garvin
Fundraising Workshop Available to West Virginia Groups by Carl Bolyard,  WVRC
Energy Exhortations by Vivian Stockman, OVEC
OVEC National Finalist For Outstanding Community Leadership Award
Environmental Fellowships

Governor's Energy Task Force by Norm Steenstra, WV-CAG
WVEC Fall Convention Information

WVEC Fall Convention

"Back to the Future" Rethinking WVEC

by Donald S. Garvin, Jr., WVEC President

When was the last time you read or thought about our mission statement? Well, it's time for you to do both. So here it is:

"The mission of the West Virginia Environmental Council is 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."

Now I'd like you to think about those words. I want you to think about our mission. I'd like you to do this in a serious fashion. And then I'm going to ask you (a "shameless plea" of another kind) to attend the 2001 WVEC Annual Meeting this September to share your thinking with the rest of us.

This year's Annual Meeting, "Back to the Future" Rethinking WVEC, will center around a discussion of the WVEC mission. With the assistance of a trained facilitator, we will attempt to embark on a candid appraisal of the E-Council's past performance in meeting our mission goals and an open dialogue on WVEC's future direction. So if we are going to accomplish anything at the Annual Meeting, it will be because YOU are there to participate. YOU are our members and representatives of our member groups. YOU are the WVEC.

We have needed to have this discussion for some time now. A lot has changed since we first got together back in 1989. While we started out as a coalition or "umbrella" organization, we now have individual members as well. When we began, groups like OVEC and WV Rivers Coalition were not in existence. When we first met, there was at most only one full-time paid staff person in the entire environmental movement in this state. Things have changed.

When I agreed to serve as your president almost two years ago, I promised that we would have this discussion. For a variety of reasons (not to mention some pretty weak excuses on my part), that hasn't happened. However, it appears to me (and others of you as well) that we can no longer avoid the issue.

We have some important and crucial decisions to make about the future of WVEC. At our July meeting the Board of Directors appointed a program committee for this upcoming Annual Meeting. The committee consists of Gary Zuckett, Jim Kotcon, Liz Sampson, and myself (all of whom have served a stint as WVEC president). The committee is working hard to provide a good forum for our discussion.

In that regard Jim Kotcon has suggested the following theme that we might want to adopt for the Saturday discussion session: "Re-creating environmental consensus in WV: Reaching decisions and taking action!" Jim has further suggested a few questions that might help us frame our discussions and our thinking:

** How do WV environmentalists create a broader, more cohesive movement?

** What are West Virginia's environmental groups doing about my environmental concerns?

** Who are the key players on my environmental issue?

** How do environmentalists accomplish environmental protection in Charleston and around the state?

** What do we actually do to protect breathable air, drinkable water, wildlife and special places?

More specifically, I would like to urge those of you who have been most active in the E-Council, either in the past or the present, to think about some of the nuts and bolts issues that WVEC faces on a daily basis, things like organizational structure and funding (I knew I wouldn't get through this without mentioning money!).

So one final shameless plea: come to the Annual Meeting, particularly for the Saturday discussion sessions. Come with open minds and open hearts and help shape the future of the West Virginia Environmental Council. I look forward to seeing each of you in September.

Return to Index

Fundraising Workshop Available to West Virginia Groups

by Carl Bolyard, Development Coordinator, WVRC


The West Virginia Rivers Coalition and The Wilderness Society are pleased to invite you to a facilitated tutorial in fundraising to be held Saturday, October 6, 2001. The day will be hosted at Elk River Touring Center in Slatyfork, West Virginia. This will be a full day designed to share between participants the skills and contacts needed to raise funds for your individual organization or watershed group. This one-day session is designed for everyone from the most experienced person to someone who only recently started seeking financial support or grants for their group. This workshop is open to everyone involved with an environmental non-profit in West Virginia.

WVRC and The Wilderness Society believe that real change occurs at the local level. This Saturday session will facilitate local groups sharing ideas and empowering one another in fundraising techniques. Empowering West Virginia's grassroots groups through financial stability will greatly aid in protecting our natural resources.

This joint project between The Wilderness Society and West Virginia Rivers Coalition allows us to do some exciting things:

* This brings many years of experience in fundraising for organizations to the group setting. Liz Coit is the Vice President of Development for The Wilderness Society and will lead the workshop.

* Host a workshop in West Virginia with one of our national supporting partners in conservation.

* Direct the learning toward watershed groups and West Virginia partners.

* Offer the workshop FREE OF CHARGE to registered participants.

This will be a great opportunity to learn, share and jump-start your fall season. The food and accommodations at Elk River Touring Center are wonderful and warm. Recreation opportunities abound in the area for you to relax. Slatyfork is just a few hours from most places in the state and is near Snowshoe resort. A number of lodging options are available at Elk River Touring Center and nearby for those who can spend the night.

Details of the workshop:

* 9am to 5pm Saturday, October 6, 2001

* Includes lunch Saturday

* Some scholarship assistance is available for lodging

* Register by calling Carl at 304-637-7201. We will need to have final numbers by Friday September 14th.

* When you register you will be sent a survey for the workshop. This survey will be used to adapt the content of the day to our audience.

Topics to be covered Saturday:

* Discuss what is most on people's minds, current issues in fund raising

* Help create a fundraising sense of self

* Discussion of available funding in West Virginia and beyond the state

* Defining and understanding what type of funding your group is qualified to receive

* Learning skills, instincts and intuition for mastering the art of fundraising

* Allowing time to cultivate the sharing of knowledge and resources

* Small group discussions will center on issues that are germane to your goals

I hope you will accept our invitation to attend or send someone from your group to learn more from this opportunity. Please feel free to pass this along to other environmental groups as well. Call me to register and complete your survey as soon as possible so that we have a great weekend with yourself included.

Return to Index

Energy Exhortations

by Vivian Stockman, OVEC

Bush the Lesser's national energy policy has grave implications for southern West Virginia's mountain communities, streams and forested mountains, not to mention life on earth.

The policy pays whispering lip service to conservation and alternative energy, but is really a blueprint for drilling, mining and nuking the guts right out of the planet. Oxymoronic doublespeak prevails in Dubya's plan, and here in WV, that means a frenzied push for "clean" coal and "responsible" mountain range removal.

The Republican House just one-upped the Prez-select by passing a virtually ecocidal energy bill that, among other ghastly things, rejects higher fuel efficiency measures for gas hog SUVs, while opening up the near-pristine Alaska Wildlife National Refuge to oil drilling. The "need" to drill ANWR would be offset by better automobile fuel efficiency.

The House's dangerously absurd capitulation to campaign funders reiterates three points we've been harping on for a while:

Democracy has been co-opted by multinational corporations;

We've got to demand real campaign finance reform NOW;

We must act on our own to reduce our use of fossil fuels, since many of the nation's "leaders" have vision so myopic they couldn't see their way out of a paper bag.

On July 30, in support of the bill, rising darling of the Republican Party Rep. Shelley Moore Capito circulated a memo with a drawing of a cloud and a lump of coal holding hands. The memo headlinedI am not making this up"Clean coal and clean air go hand in hand," asked her cohorts to support "clean" coal provisions of the bill.

Despite being directly handed a fact pack about the myth of "clean" coal at her "West Virginia's Energy and America's Future" forum, Capito refuses to get it: from mining, to transportation, to burning, to disposal of the ash, there is no such thing as "clean" coal. She really ought to check the news a little more. Since June, residents of Chester, Ohio, just across the river from Point Pleasant have been sickened from the fallout of cleaning up coal.

According to an August 3 Columbus Dispatch article:

Pollution controls at AEP facility are causing new problem

At one of the largest coal-burning power plants in North America, new pollution controls are belching acidic blue clouds that hover in the summer sun over a Ohio River village next door.

The clouds of sulfuric acid are an inadvertent by-product of a $200 million system that American Electric Power installed in May at the Gen. James M. Gavin plant to reduce emissions of another pollutant, nitrogen oxide, one of the main ingredients in smog.

Of course, the Democrat-controlled Senate has to come up with its own energy bill once Congress reconvenes in September.

Meanwhile, in state, Gov. Bob Wise has convened an energy task force to figure out the state's energy policy. Surprise! So far, there is nary a coalfield resident on the panel. Nor a rep from any organization actively organizing in the coalfields with a commitment to ending mountain range removal.

Surprise! WV Coal president Bill Raney is on the panel, even though the Charleston Gazette just exposed his back room dealings to drop a lawsuit that could recover $400 million the coal industry owes the state for worker's comp. Even though some of Bill's rhetoric, was just exposed as um, ill-informed, in the Sunday New York Times Magazine.

What to do:

Track down your Rep over recess (go to www.house.gov to find members' home office info) or call their DC offices and tell 'em what you think of their vote.

SCOLD Capito at 202-225-2711 and Mollohan at 202-225-4172 for their votes on the energy bill (HR 4).

THANK Rahall at 202-225-3452. He voted against HR4 and he tried to insert and amendment that would have helped endangered species.

CONTACT Senators Byrd at 202-224-3954 and Rockefeller at 202-224-6472.

Tell 'em to swipe some of those billions from "clean" coal research, and instead invest in alternative energy (wind, solar, hydrogen fuel cells) manufacturing jobs in the coalfields.

CONTACT Gov. Wise at 888-438-2731 or 304-558-2000. Things he needs to hear:

There is no "responsible" mountaintop removal;

The state must start enforcing federal mining laws;

Bill Raney has no place on the energy task force;

The European Union is committed to dramatically increasing the use of alternatives energies. If Europe can do it, why can't we?

There are jobs, jobs, jobs to be had in the field of alternative energy--jobs with a future!

I'm not sure we want to ask Wise to get coalfield residents onto the task force. If it's anything like Underwood's task force on mountaintop removal, it will just be a big waste of time and resources.

If you need more information on any of this, contact vivian@ohvec.org or 522-0246.

Return to Index

"I know there is a lot of ambition in Washington, obviously. But I hope the ambitious realize that they are more likely to succeed with success as opposed to failure." George W. Bush, 1/18/01

OVEC National Finalist For Outstanding Community Leadership Award

(excerpts from an OVEC press release)

The Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition (OVEC) has been named a national finalist of the Ford Foundation's Leadership for a Changing World awards program. OVEC is one of 36 finalists selected from a pool of over 3,000 nominations and is now eligible to become one of the 20 national award winners who will receive $100,000 each to advance their work and an additional $30,000 for supporting activities. Winners will be announced on September 13, 2001.

OVEC has organized citizens to fight for sustainable and environmentally sound development and through community activism and tireless political action, has led many successes. It forced dramatic pollution reductions at a huge oil refinery, resulting in cleaner air and water. It spearheaded successful efforts to fight off new, heavily polluting industries, including a toxic waste incinerator and landfill, and the planned largest-on-the-continent pulp mill whose owners refused to use clean technologies. OVEC has also initiated numerous lawsuits which resulted in stronger environmental enforcement. They co-founded the Peoples' Election Reform Coalition, to work on an underlying cause of environmental destruction - our current political campaign finance system. OVEC's biggest issue is its battle against mountaintop removal/valley fill strip mining, which continues to threaten West Virginia's environment, long-term economy, and coalfield communities.

The Leadership for a Changing World has three goals: to recognize the achievements of outstanding leaders, to provide financial and other support for their continued leadership work, and to study how leadership is perceived, created and sustained. It recognizes individual leaders and leadership teams who have worked for at least two years in fields such as economic and community development, human rights, the arts, education, sexual and reproductive health, religion, media and the environment.

For info, visit www.leadershipforchange.org or e-mail (info@leadershipforchange.org), phone (202) 777-7560 or by writing to Leadership for a Changing World, Advocacy Institute, 1629 K St., NW Suite 200 Washington, DC 20006-1629.

WVEC congratulates Dianne Bady, Janet Fout and Laura Forman for receiving this honor and wishes them luck with the Ford Foundation's decision next month!

Return to Index

Environmental Fellowships

The Environmental Leadership Program (ELP) is a non-profit organization that seeks to transform public understanding of environmental issues by training and supporting visionary, action-oriented emerging leaders. Through its fellowship program, ELP provides training and project support to 25 talented individuals each year from nonprofits, business, government, and higher education. ELP is committed to fostering a reflective, diverse environmental movement capable of responding to our complex social and environmental challenges.

Fellowship Details

The ELP Fellowship is an innovative national program designed to build the leadership capacity of the environmental field's most promising emerging professionals. We define emerging professionals as practitioners who are relatively new to the environmental field with approximately three to ten years of experience. Each year, a new class of fellows is chosen to join a select group of environmental professionals from diverse backgrounds, sectors, and areas of expertise. The three-year fellowship offers unique networking opportunities, intensive leadership and skills training, project seed money, technical assistance, and mentoring. Fellows receive a $2,000 participation stipend; travel and accommodations for four training retreats; access to funding for capacity building leadership activities; and national recognition through the program. The ELP Fellowship provides an opportunity for talented individuals to have a unique and substantial impact on the environmental movement through collaboration with other emerging leaders.

Required Commitments:

Applicants for the ELP Fellowship must commit to participating in four retreats over three years-two retreats in the first year and one retreat in the summer of each subsequent year

Participation in all ELP retreats-in their entirety-is a mandatory component of the fellowship. ELP pays all retreat travel and accommodation costs. In addition, each fellow conducts a leadership building project with support from the ELP Activity Fund

Applications must be mailed to the ELP Fellowship Office, and postmarked by Monday, October 1, 2001. Final decisions will be made and all applicants will be notified by December 21, 2001.

Applications and further details are available at www.elpnet.org.

ENVIRONMENTAL LEADERSHIP PROGRAM P.O. Box 446 Haydenville, MA 01039413.268.0035, Fax: 413.268.0036 info@elpnet.org

Return to Index

Governor's Energy Task Force

by Norm Steenstra, WV-CAG Executive Director

Early this month, Governor Wise appointed his energy task force. The charge of the task force is to "maximize use of resources to develop energy production and generation guidelines, develop environmental solutions, and optimize economic development in the state."

Like many GREEN readers, WV-CAG took an interest on who would serve on this task force. We've been involved in virtually every energy-related issue for the past 27 years, from oil and gas to windmills, coal to electric deregulation. It was our hope that the task force would be a balanced group that would look not only at the present day realities of increased coal and oil and gas production but also the opportunities for increased conservation and the development of new green energy technologies. In addition, we had hoped that several environmental and grassroots groups would be among the task force members.

At face value, the task force appears tilted heavily toward the promotion of fossil fuels. Of the sixteen members appointed, nearly all of them represent business and academic interests. I was the lone "citizen appointment." The only elected official appointed was Secretary of State Joe Manchin.

Although the composition of the task force is disappointing, the good news is that this group is actually the Process committee that will develop an overall plan in which more specific issues can be examined. These include energy conservation, green technologies and coalfield-oilfield quality of life concerns.

The tendency is to look at this task force as just another example of government promoting special interests. While it may turn out that way in the end, I believe it is an opportunity for the environmental movement to play a key role in defining what the "post-coal" economy will look like. Currently it's our only "official" process to promote new technologies and make conservation a matter of policy not just personal virtue.

My understanding is that this task force is just the first tier of public involvement. Many more citizen and green representatives will eventually serve on specific issue committees. I'm going into this thing rather lonely, disappointed in the balance but optimistic that herein lies a chance for us to put some real pro-active, green thinking into the future energy policy of West Virginia.

This task force is not the arena for issues such as valley fills, blasting, power plant emissions or drilling fluid disposal. In the current political climate with coal as Czar, victories will be rare. But we can do something that coal won't. We can think thirty years into the future where coal and oil and gas really don't care what happens to the next generation. I'm in great need of support, opinions, and information on energy policies, so please contact me and broaden our input. My e-mail is nsteenstra@wvwise.org.

Return to Index

WVEC Fall Convention:

"Back to the Future" Rethinking WVEC

Camp Pioneer, Beverly, WV

September 21 23, 2001

This year's Annual Meeting, "Back to the Future" Rethinking WVEC, will focus on re-examining the WVEC mission and re-establishing a consensus on the functions, needs, and processes of an environmental council among the environmental community of WV. We will seek input from both organizational members and individual members on what they need from WVEC, how WVEC has been working, and how it can work better. Our goal is that these discussions will result in recommendations for positive and constructive changes that will set the course of WVEC toward improved service to the environmental community and more effective environmental advocacy.


Friday, September 21

5:00 PM - on---Registration/Free Time/Social Time


Saturday, September 22

7:30 8:30 AM---Breakfast $5 or bring your own

8:45 Noon---Registration continues

9:00 AM---Welcome: Don Garvin, WVEC President

9:10 Noon---"Back to the Future" Rethinking WVEC Session One This is the opening session of a day-long facilitated discussion. We will begin with an abbreviated "We All Live on A Dot" Session, the WVEC traditional method of introducing ourselves and our concerns. During this first session the group will decide, with the aid of the facilitator, on the process and structure to be used for the remainder of the discussions.

Noon 1:30 PM---Regional Meetings and Lunch Bring your own lunch or share, meet with your region, discuss/ identify local issues, elect regional board members.

1:30 4:00 PM---"Back to the Future" Rethinking WVEC Session Two

4:00 5:00 PM---Free Time

5:00 7:00 PM---Pot Luck Supper Bring a dish to share

7:00 9:30 PM---"Back to the Future" Rethinking WVEC Session Three

All Evening---Silent Auction (to conclude at 10:00 PM)

10:00 PM---Camp Fire Bring your musical instrument!!!


Sunday, September 23

7:30 8:45 AM ---Breakfast $5 or bring your own

8:30 9:00 AM---Universal worship service

(NOTE: Sunday's schedule is subject to change, based on the outcome of Saturday's discussions)

9:30 10:00 AM---Regional Reports (5 minutes/region) Introduction of new Board members

10:00 Noon---2002 Legislative Session: Setting priorities and identifying initiatives

Noon---Wrap Up and Clean Up

12:30 2PM---WVEC Board Meeting



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 346-5905.



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.



WVEC Fall Convention: "Back to the Future" Rethinking WVEC

September 21 -23, 2001

Camp Pioneer, Beverly, WV

Please register for meals in advance. Saturday lunch is on your own. Saturday supper will be covered dish, so bring an entree to share! You can also register on-line: e-mail lmallet@wvwise.org with your name, number in your group, number of nights, number of meals, and specify camping or dorm accommodations. If you have questions, please call 346-5905 or 346-5891.



____Registration ($10 Adult/$5 Student) ____Tent Camping ($7/night/site)

____Saturday Breakfast ($5 ea)

____Sunday Breakfast ($5 ea) ____Dorm Bunk ($12/night/person, bring linens)

____ I can't make it this year but am enclosing a donation.

____ I am enclosing my membership renewal ___$10 ___$25 ___$50 ____ Other.


Total Enclosed: $_________

Make checks payable to WVEC and mail to: 1324 Virginia St., East, Charleston, WV 25301

Finally - A Bottle Bill for West Virginia?

West Virginia Citizen Action Group's (WV-CAG) Board of Directors announced that among the group's top legislative priorities is the passage of a container law in West Virginia. WV-CAG plans on making a formal request of support at the WVEC's annual convention next month.

Any GREEN readers who would like to work on a public education campaign aimed at the eventual passage of a bottle bill in West Virginia should contact Linda Mallet at 346-5891 or lmallet@wvwise.org. The campaign will stress the potential energy conservation rather than just landfill avoidance.

Return to Index