Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition
Archive list of "E"- Notes newsletters

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August 2009

Floods ... Again
OVEC Organizer Wins International Recognition with Green Nobel
JOBS and Energy Answers for Our WV Mountain Communities
Picnic for Green JOBS
MTR Mining Equipment Taken Off Gauley Mountain For Now
Board Adds Conditions to Disputed Fayette County Mine Permit
Lets Make Sure the Transition to a Clean, Green Energy Future in WV is a Peaceful One
Calling All Potential New OVEC Board of Directors Members!
Congress Doesnt Always Want to Come CLEAN
The CLEAN Citizens Leading For Energy Action Now
American Clean Energy Security Act: Coal Rewarded
Good Gosh, We Could Have Used That Money to Jump Start the Clean Energy Future in America!
Slurry Lawsuit Settlers Frustrated With Wait for Money
Mountains Aided With First-Ever Fundraising Concert in North Carolina
Sludge Safety Project Legislative Session Wrap-Up
DEPs Sludge Study Results: Agency Still Dont Know Nuthin
OVEC Organizer Testifies at Senate MTR Hearing
Thanks for All the Volunteers Who Helped After the Floods
Fighting For Our Ancestors Resting Places
Lobbying for Green Jobs in DC
Growing Movement Demands Protection for Mountains, Climate, Humanity
Environmental Groups Ask EPA to Take Over WV Pollution Permitting
Byrds Eye View: Staffers Get Close-Up Views of Mountain Range Removal
A Good Win in A Critical Federal Court Case Against MTR
Judicial Bill Pulled by Governor
Supreme Court Case Makes WV A National Laughingstock
Eating For OVEC Keeps Raising $$$
Photovoice Participants Capture their Communities in Images
Photovoice Exhibitions Well Covered By Local and Statewide Media
You Dont Have to Go to Copenhagen to Make a Difference
Obama and Mountaintop Removal Mining: The Roller Coaster Ride
New CD Celebrates Coalfield Resistance to Mountaintop Removal
Blair Mountain and the National Register of Historic Places
Ashford Yesterday, Today and Maybe Tomorrow?
Come Home to West Virginia? Buyer Beware!
Louv-ley Day in Charleston
Who Are They Kidding?
Web Extras:
Open Letter to Governor Manchin about Blair Mountain
Matewan, West Virginia

For viewing the PDF version of the newsletter

Winds of Change Newsletter, August 2009     See sidebar for table of contents

Fighting For Our Ancestors Resting Places

A cemetery in sight of the State Capitol. Is it safe from mountaintop removal mining? Right now, the answer is - Maybe.

Who would have thought at the beginning of this years legislative session that there would be at least seven bills dealing with cemetery-related issues? In a reflection of the number of citizens having difficulty protecting their family cemeteries, related pieces of legislation continued to pop up weeks into the legislative process.

OVEC was directly responsible for two of the proposals: H2905 to extend the buffer zone around cemeteries from 100 feet to 300 feet, and H2928 to clarify certain access and desecration issues.

Del. Don Perdue and his capable staff person, Nancy Tyler, helped us in getting the bills introduced, while OVEC member D.L. Hamilton offered invaluable assistance. We also offered support to Lincoln County resident Versie Sims, whose work resulted in the reintroduction of a bill originally introduced in the House last year. She received some Senate attention toward her concerns.

H2905 was referred to the Energy, Industry, Labor and Small Business Committee, where it was not taken up. H2928 was sent to Judiciary, where Chair Carrie Webster placed the bill on the agenda. However, there was some concern about the language possibly having unintended effects on farmers and others who accidentally discover human remains or other artifacts.

A problem also arose with our intent to allow magistrates to mediate access problems, rather than the current avenue of circuit court. The Chairs legal staff felt that would be giving magistrates an injunctive authority they do not currently have. As the deletions would have gutted our intent for the bill, we decided to withdraw it from consideration.

OVEC staff Robin Blakeman and Carol Warren met with Chairwoman Webster and Del. Harold Michael, along with representatives from the State Historic Preservation Office, state Funeral Directors, and religious community allies from the WV Council of Churches and Catholic Conference.

Chad Robinson told the delegates that the funeral directors receive calls from people "every week" with complaints about being denied access to family cemeteries, but the organization can't help them. Delegates Webster and Michael began to see how complex the issue is, and that many West Virginians are experiencing problems visiting and protecting their family cemeteries.

Everyone agreed that the various aspects need further study to arrive at solutions that will satisfy all parties. We will continue working with interested parties so that appropriate legislation can be introduced next year.

If you are interested in this issue and havent yet been involved in our cemetery protection work, please contact Carol or Robin at (304) 522-0246.

This issue will continue to be of high priority as we seek to honor and preserve our cultural heritage in the mountains we all love.


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