During week two of the West Virginia Legislature, we faced the House Judiciary Committee where HB 2506, a bill that would further endanger our already fragile drinking water supply, was railroaded through. We called and you answered! In less than 24 hours, we had 233 people respond to the Rivers action alert, totaling 9,786 letters to judiciary committee members and over 90 phone calls were made. Thank you to everyone who showed up and spoke out in opposition to this dangerous bill.
The fight is far from over. A Public Hearing on HB 2506 is scheduled for 8:30am on Monday, February 27, 2017, which is also E-Day! We need you again to show up and speak out!
Sign up today to attend E-Day at the Capitol!
February 27, 2017 from 8am – 2 pm, Lower Rotunda, WV State Capitol
- 8am – Registration
- 8:30-9:30am – Public Hearing on HB2506, House Chambers
- 9:30-10am – Citizen Lobbyist Training in room 151A
- *9:30-10:15am – Meetings with Legislators
- 10:15-10:45am – Rally in the Lower Rotunda
- 11am – House Floor session and recognition
- 12-2pm – Meetings with Legislators
February 27, 2017
Charleston, WV 25311
The event is scheduled for 6-9 p.m. Volunteers would be needed from 3:30-10 p.m.
Volunteers are needed for setup prior to the event, cleanup after the event, and miscellaneous tasks throughout.
The event includes live music by Johnathon Smith, jazz keyboardist for Grooveheavy, and delicious food by Debbie Matthews of Whimsy Catering, as well as Silent Auction prizes from local businesses.
- Senator Ronald Miller — Chuck Chambers Public Service Award
- Chad Cordell — Laura Forman Grassroots Activist of the Year
- April Pierson-Keating — Linda Schnautz Environmental Courage Award
- Dan Conant, Solar Holler — Green Entrepreneur of the Year
- Junior Walk — Youth Activism Award
- Ken Hechler — Special Recognition Award
by: Kate Leary and David Manthos
At the fall conference our members created a list of priorities, which guide our work this session. Check out our here.
This week the House Judiciary Committee fast-tracked HB 2506, a bill which will undermine drinking water protections and water quality standards in West Virginia. Like its Senate counterpart (SB 246), HB 2506 would significantly increase the amount of pollution that many facilities are allowed to dump into our rivers and streams.
The DEP has eliminated provisions from natural gas permits which would have protected West Virginians from excess noise and light resulting from compressor stations and other major natural gas infrastructure. This change was made at the request of the West Virginia Independent Oil and Gas Association, despite the fact that the noise and light protections had already withstood legal challenges from industry.
“To say we are disappointed in this decision is an understatement,” said Julie Archer, of our partner group West Virginia Surface Owners’ Rights Organization. “Eliminating these provisions is a huge disservice to those living near these facilities, and it’s shameful that we are going to allow their lives, health and property to be ruined simply because the industry doesn’t want to put adequate protections in place.”
Last week we introduced you to SB 245, a bill which would allow pipeline surveyors to enter private property without the permission of the owner. Since then we’ve learned that the language of this bill is copied from an existing law in force in Virginia, and the results on the ground there have been alarming. Tensions are running high, and several lawsuits have resulted from property owners refusing to allow surveyors on their land, with the pipeline company trying to claim that they are entitled to thousands of dollars in damages for the minor inconvenience of delayed operations.
We’ve seen a lot of positive energy on campaign finance reform this session, with multiple reform-oriented bills advancing in both the House and Senate. Most notably, HB 2319, which mandated disclosure for fundraising events taking place during the legislative session, passed the house unopposed this week.
Fundraising events held during the legislative session were singled out for particular scrutiny because of the potential to have legislators accepting donations from interest groups while they are still in the process of writing and voting on bills that affect those groups. HB 2319 would not preclude that scenario, but it would ensure that the public has access to information about donations in a timely manner, so that they can hold their lawmakers accountable.
We need your continued support throughout the legislative session as we continue to fight on our legislative priorities and environmental issues.This was only the first salvo and we expect many more to come. We need your help to keep our water safe and the mountains we all love pristine.