OVEC Action Alert

Meet Our New ED and Check Out the Action Opps

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Aug 31, 2016

Meet Our Incoming ED and Wish Janet WellJan.NatSeated outside our Huntington office are Janet Keating (left) and Natalie Thompson. This photo is from a story running today in the Herald-Dispatch. It’s bittersweet news to announce that Janet’s retiring on September 30, and, on October 1, Natalie assumes the role of OVEC’s executive director. Here’s some of the news coverage springing from our press release about this momentous occasion for OVEC, for which we have been preparing for more than a year.

We hope you will join is in wishing Janet well in this transition (and don’t worry, we already know she’ll be one of our new stellar volunteers!) and in welcoming Natalie. Hooray for these two wonderful women!

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Watch Your Water and Keep Your Kroger

Water: OVEC is partnering with WV Rivers Coalition,Trout Unlimited and WV Highlands Conservancy to bring the Volunteer Water Quality Monitor program to western and central counties of the state. We’ve got a training coming up, so contact us if you are interested in learning more and/or volunteering. E-mail info@ohvec.org for details.

Clean Water icon

Kroger: When you enroll or re-enroll in the Kroger Community Rewards Program, OVEC receives a donation whenever you use your Kroger Rewards card to shop at a Kroger in our “region.” Each August, Kroger requires you to re-enroll; that’s easy to do online. If you haven’t re-enrolled, or enrolled, please do so today (even if you are reading this after August has come and gone).

Learn more about this program here.To enroll or re-enroll, click here and register with Kroger. Once you are registered, or if you are already enrolled, click “Community” from the menu and then “Community Rewards.” From “Community Rewards” click on the “edit or re-enroll” button, then “find organization,” (search OVEC or use our number, which is 82772), then “select organization,” and then “save your selection.” If you have any problems, dial 800-576-4377 for help.

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Stay Tuned for Opp to Tell Researchers about MTR and Health


In early August, as the Charleston Gazette reported, the Obama administration announced that an “expert team being appointed by the National Academy of Sciences will examine a ‘growing amount of academic research’ that suggests ‘possible correlations’ between increased public health risks for Appalachian residents and living near mountaintop removal coal mining.”

As soon as we started working to end mountaintop removal, back in the late 90s, people living near these operations told us that this extreme form of coal mining was making them sick. Back in 2004, when we were compiling comments for the draft environmental impact statement on MTR, we documented some of people’s health concerns.As the movement to end mountaintop removal grew, people’s demands that the health concerns be addressed grew, too. While politicians kept their heads in the sand, research accumulated, corroborating what residents were (and still are) saying.

People have pushed copies of all the studies into politician’s hands, in Charleston and in D.C. Folks have educated one another. Legislation, the ACHE Act, has been drafted. Rallies have been held, and the latest one, The People’s Foot finally struck a chord; as the August Gazette article notes, “The federal scientific effort also comes after West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Randy Huffman surprised citizen groups in March 2015 — on the eve of a protest planned at his agency’s headquarters — by publicly saying that the health studies needed to be more closely examined by regulators, and the commitment less than a week later by Huffman and state Public Health Commissioner Dr. Rahul Gupta for a review of the issue.”

The Beckley Register Herald  reports that the $1 million study “will take two years and comes at the request of the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WV DEP).”

Again we see that endless pressure, endlessly applied, leads us toward the outcomes we want.Studies, though are one thing. An end to mountaintop removal is entirely another, and we are still working on that outcome. There are many ways to continue applying the pressure we need (for instance, have you written a letter to the editor recently?) and stay tuned for one such opportunity that should be coming up: the committee of experts undertaking this study is to hold four town hall meetings to gather information from folks like us about mountaintop removal’s health impacts. The locations and dates for these meetings have not yet been announced. Stay tuned.

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Antero Comment Period Extended and Other Upcoming Events

September 3: the end of the extended deadline for the written comment period for the storm water permit for Antero’s proposed massive landfill and liquid waste “treatment” complex in Doddridge and Ritchie counties. (This is fracking related, folks.) Learn more here and here. Use WV River Coalition’s easy online way to comment by clicking here.

September 22: 7:00-8:30 p.m. They Did It, We Can Too: Lessons from Other Public Water Fights at the University of Charleston Appalachian Room (in the Geary Student Union). RSVP here.

The movement for a public water system in the Kanawha Valley is growing due to frustration with WV American Water’s high rates, frequent main breaks and poor service.Save the date for a public forum on what it could look like to create a public water system for the Kanawha Valley.

In 2013, Florida residents took public control of a failing private water system owned by Aqua Florida. Join OurWaterWV to hear from a leader of the movement for that public takeover of the failing private water system. We’ll learn more about how the community made this happen, and what we can do right here to create a public water system that is transparent, accountable and fair!Sept22water

September 27:  National Voter Registration Day!  Hook into local voter registration drives. Watch our calendar page for updates.

October 7 – 8: Morgantown WV. Cry of the Earth, Cry of the Poor: A Dialogue Leading to Action. Learn more here and register here.

October 8: 6 p.m. The Huntington-Cabell branch of the NAACP hosts its annual Freedom Fund banquet: Our Lives Matter, Our Votes Count, at Marshall University Student Union, BE5. Doors open 5:30 p.m. Contact info@ohvec.org for tickets.

October 10: Deadline to register for the WVEC and WVHC Joint Biennial Fall Conference at Camp Virgil Tate – Charleston, WV. Register here. See October 21 – 23 entry below for info on the conference.

October 16 – 17: 135th West Virginia Council of Churches Annual Assembly at Christ Church United Methodist in Charleston,WV. This year’s theme will be “Acts of Mercy.” Plenaries include Acts of Mercy from an Interfaith Perspective and a presentation on the Common Good by Dr. Robert Rupp of West Virginia Wesleyan College. Ms. Gaylene Miller, State Director, AARP West Virginia, will be our Ecumenical Breakfast speaker. More details soon; check our calendar page.

October 21 – 23: WVEC and WVHC Joint Biennial Fall Conference at Camp Virgil Tate – Charleston, WV. Register here, by October 10. Join the event on Facebook here.

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In This Alert

Meet Our Incoming ED
and Wish Janet Well

Watch Your Water
and Keep Your Kroger

Stay Tuned for Opp
to Tell Researchers
about MTR and Health

Antero Comment Period Extended and Other Upcoming Events


Write Your Letter
to Don Blankenship
Before His Prison Term is Up



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