Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition Action Alert

March 10
Alert Archive

OVEC Action Alert
Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition


 Tomorrow in Charleston, WV: Climate Change Meeting, Come to House Chamber
Note: For other upcoming WV events on the looming climate crisis, see OVEC's "Global Warming and West Virginia" webpage.

WV E-Council lobbyist Vickie Wolfe says, "This legislative session, Delegate Barbara Fleischauer (D-Monongalia) introduced five energy-related bills. Only one passed; it will allow counties and municipalities to enter into contracts for energy savings. None of the others even made it onto a committee agenda. So, Barbara has taken it on herself to try to educate the legislature about climate change. She has lined up a speaker --Dr. Nikki Roy -- from the Pew Center on Global Climate Change to come to Charleston and address the legislature in the House Chamber (inside the State Capitol building) on Tuesday, March 11 at 1:00 p.m."

Please let others know about this meeting and please attend -- let WV legislators know the public is concerned about climate change, even if they are in denial.

Vickie adds, "Arrive a little early and look up your legislators and ask if they plan to attend the presentation. Also, if your legislators are among those who received a a copy of the DVD "Kilowatt Ours" last week (handed out by OVEC, Coal River Mountain Watch and E-Council volunteers and staff), you can ask if they've watched it yet. Along with the DVD, they received an invitation for a free flyover of mountaintop removal sites -- ask if they plan to go!"

Reply to this e-mail with "list of legislators" in the subject line if you want the list of which legislators received the DVD and invitation for a flyover.

Dr. Roy is the Director of Congressional Affairs for the Pew Center on Global Climate Change where he manages communications between the Center and United States Congress.

"The issue of climate change is one of the most profound we face as a nation and worldwide," says Dr. Roy. "Unaddressed,climate change will cause significant impacts, including rising sea levels, stresses to coastal communities, storms, erosion, and more frequent floods and droughts. Devising solutions will require all parties to come to the table."

"We are delighted Dr. Roy is coming to West Virginia," says Delegate Fleischauer. "There is no reason for us to re-invent the wheel when there is so much being done in other states and other countries which we can adapt for West Virginia's particular situation." Fleischauer is one of several Delegates and Senators who have introduced legislation intended to reduce the effects of global warming in West Virginia. 

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 Register by March 14 for April 5-9 Washington, DC Lobby Week
The groups making up the Alliance for Appalachia, including OVEC, invite you to Washington, DC April 5-9 for Stop Mountaintop Removal Lobby Week. It's the chance for people like you from all across the country to meet your representatives and ask them to stop the destructive practice of mountaintop removal coal mining. Speak up for the Clean Water Protection Act! The deadline to register is March 14. To register click here today. 

If you are in West Virginia and want to join other OVEC folks heading to DC for the Stop Mountaintop Removal Lobby Week, please contact Maria Gunnoe at wvhollowgirl@aol.com.

Why bother going to DC? Over the years, OVEC has participated in several lobbying trips to DC. Earthjustice has been one of the main groups doing loads of work to make our visits there possible. One reason is that the group realizes how effective personal visits to legislators are. After one trip, Earthjustice's Joan Mulhern wrote to OVEC:

I have already heard from several of the Congressional offices you visited that they want to do anything they can to help. Two staff people told me they cried after their meetings, after hearing about the devastation to the communities and the environment that the groups told them about. You all had a huge effect on the Hill.

Please know that this trip made a HUGE impression on the people that you met with and created a buzz on the Hill. I concur with you that the trip was a success. It also came at a critical time. This puts these issues in so much of a better position if an effort is made in Congress to weaken the laws for the coal companies. This is very important. I hope you let everyone who made the trip know that their efforts had a big effect in DC. Many, many people on the Hill knew that you were here, not just those (many) that you met with. That is a huge help for our efforts in DC to save the laws that are supposed to protect you.

Personally, it was such a pleasure for me to see some of the people I have met before and to meet many people I had not met before but heard so much about. Every person’s involvement in the effort to enforce environmental laws is so important, it was inspiring.

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 Write Those Letters to the Editor, Please!
The coal industry is spending tens of millions of dollars on advertising. Help counter the industry's spin by writing letters to the editor, no matter where you live. Please write a letter to the editor about mountaintop removal. The letters section is one of the most widely-read sections of newspapers. Click here for tips on writing a letter to the editor and a quick way to find newspapers in your area. Scan our daily news-links webpage for letters that people have recently submitted. 

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Volunteers Needed for Appalachian Studies Conference
OVEC will have a table at this year's Appalachian Studies Conference, March 28 -30 at Marshall University. Check out this pdf document listing all the panels and events--something for everyone. OVEC needs volunteers for our assorted activities at the conference. If you are interested in helping, please e-mail vivian@ohvec.org. Volunteers for tabling may attend the conference events that day--for free.

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 Attention WVU alumni: WVU, Climate Change, and You -- Sign the E-Petition
Attention WVU alumni: WVU, Climate Change, and You -- Sign the E-Petition

A message from Cheyenna Weber, one of the organizers of the WVU Green Fund:

Dear friends,

As you consider your own carbon footprint, have you ever considered the impact of our fine alma mater? Perhaps you have heard that West Virginia University is becoming a cleaner, greener, more sustainable institution. Perhaps you were excited by this, and even wondered to yourself, "Hey, I sure wish I could play a role in saving the planet, and I sure wish I could tie it to West Virginia." Well, this is your lucky climate-change averting day.

The WVU chapter of the Sierra Student Coalition has proposed a substantial program to boost energy efficiency, cut emissions and promote a greener institution. The new WVU President, Mike Garrison, already met with them once, made encouraging noises and agreed to more meetings. Faculty and staff are signing on in support, and the time has come for alumni support. (How? Hang on.)

We all know making buildings more energy efficient and creating renewable energy infrastructure is expensive. In fact, although it saves money, (and the planet), in the long-term it is often so cost-prohibitive schools can't make the changes. WVU already has presented this argument, but luckily there is a simple solution: the WVU Green Fund.

Here's how it works: WVU establishes an endowed fund that is invested in environmentally sound companies. The returns from those investments then are earmarked for green campus projects. The more money donated to the fund, the more is invested, the greater the returns. The principal is never touched-which means green projects won't be dependent on an annual fund-raising campaign or the whims of the WVU Foundation. So simple, right? Right.

Except, of course, we have to convince WVU to do it. To do that we have to show there is support for a WVU Green Fund. Now, we all could cut checks and send them to WVU, but there's nothing to keep the school from refusing to set up the endowed Green Fund and using up all the money on a single project. So instead, I'm asking people to sign the petition, located here

The petition says as an alum you support the WVU Green Fund. And, yes, there is a line in there that at some point you'll be willing to give the fund $10 bucks or more. Why is that there? Because money talks. (Don't worry, I'm not asking you to pony up now.) For now, just sign your name.

I think we all know it's a huge statement for WVU to support anything green on campus, given the region's dependence on coal. PLEASE forward this on to all your friends, neighbors, colleagues, and any other network where WVU alumni might be lurking. We are looking specifically for alumni, so help me ferret them out wherever they may be.

Thank you, as always, for caring about the planet and for being such good online activists. The petition will go to the administration some time this semester, hopefully as soon as we hit 1500 people. That's right, 1500. A huge number based on my little network, but not a huge number based on our combined networks. Please help us push WVU in the right direction: sign the petition today!

For more information, e-mail Cheyenna Weber at chey7830@aol.com

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 "Vote" on Mountaintop Removal
A Lexington, KY TV station is running an online poll asking people if they think mountaintop removal should be banned. Click here to "vote" yes, mountaintop removal should be banned. The poll is in the left column.

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