WV E-Council’s 2020 Legislative Priorities

The article below is from the West Virginia Environmental Council‘s legislative committee.
A version of this article appears in the December issue of The Highlands Voice, the newspaper of the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy. Both WVHC and OVEC are supporting member groups of WV E-Council.

Death, taxes and the WV legislature are inevitable in the mountain state of West Virginia.

And the WV legislature will convene again the second week of January. And so the West Virginia Environmental Council (WVEC) is engaging in its final flurry of setting legislative priorities for the coming year.

There are priority issues for which bills are already or soon will be written for pro-active lobbying by WVEC and its allied lobbyists. These include bills designed to improve water quality, to allow household level retail Power Purchase Agreement, Pro-Democracy/Anti-Corruption legislation, and the Modern Jobs Act allowing strip-mined lands to be used for renewable energy generation.

Other issues for which legislative bills might or might not be ready by January, include pipeline issues, public lands protections (including no logging in state parks), more funding and staff for WV Department of Environmental Protection, petro-chemicals/plastics, coal oil and gas related issues (including severance taxes), among others.

Developing legislative priorities has been an annual exercise for WV Environmental Council for three decades. This exercise includes surveying environmental groups and their members for their current environmental issues of most concern.  And each year there are several overlapping issues from previous years because many of the “old” issues are still around.

But this year a new local issue has leaped forth related to climate change. Specifically, there is demand for “Climate Impact Analysis on all new permitting.” Since this is a new”issue for WV Environmental Council, we are gradually working it into the mix of priorities,which consists partly of ongoing assessments of what is and is not doable legislatively.

Developing lobbying priorities is a year-round activity. New issues come up nearly every month.  Recently we learned of likely upcoming bills to expand Off Road Vehicle (ORV) trails, perhaps even onto public lands. Currently most “official” ORV trails (such as the Hatfield-McCoy Trail) are on former mining sites and other private lands.  Efforts to expand ORV trails onto public lands will be controversial among the general public.    

So stay tuned, and stay current. Be sure to you are subscribed to WVEC’s update lists and do follow WVEC on Twitter. The 2020 show is about to begin.   

Save the Dates!

January 14 – WVEC’s Legislative Kick-Off Blast at the Empty Glass

January 28 – WVEC’s E-Day! at the State Capitol. If you would like to help out at OVEC’s E-Day!  table, email info@ohvec.org

Feb 14 2022  Action Alert
A Final Note from OVEC
Nov 9 2021  Action Alert
Speak Up, Learn Up, and Log Out
Sep 21 2021  Hoots and Hollers
Fact Sheet: Carbon Capture and Storage and Carbon Capture and Utilization
John Amos coal-fired power plantPlantSep 16 2021  Action Alert
Speak with DEP and Coming Up: Speak Out, Listen, Learn

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