West Virginia Legislature Ignores the Environment (Almost)

Every year at this time, those of us interested in environmental preservation and conservation take stock of what the West Virginia Legislature has done for, or to, the environment.  Sadly this process usually results in the same conclusion.  We made very little progress.  During the 2021 regular session just ended, the most notable environmental victory […]

Consent Decree Requires Verso to Clean Up Potomac River Pollution from Luke MD Paper Mill

In 2019 a fisherman noticed black seepage from Verso’s paper mill at Luke Maryland into the North Branch of the Potomac River.  The seepage turned out to be “black liquor” from the papermaking process coming from several sources along the river bank, including an old storage tank and a coal ash lagoon.  A lawsuit was […]

House Committee Advances Bill Deregulating Storage Tanks to House

The House Health and Human Services Committee on Friday, March 4 sent a bill exempting above-ground storage tanks from regulation even though located on the banks of rivers and streams close to public water intakes. The vote by 13 Republicans on the Committee overruled the vote of 6 Democrats and the objections of the Department […]

Higher Registration Fees For Hybrid Vehicles – What’s Up With That?

Awhile back, a good friend of mine spent half an hour complaining to me about having to pay an additional $100 when he registered his Prius hybrid vehicle. That caused me to wonder why West Virginia would want to discourage the ownership of these vehicles with a whopping big tax.  Hybrids consume lots less gasoline […]

Industry To West Virginia: We Can’t Be Bothered

They’re at it again. Under the cover of the Covid pandemic, when citizens can’t rally in numbers, the West Virginia legislature is poised to gut one of the key protections of the Aboveground Storage Tank Act enacted after the 2014 water crisis. Remember the crisis? When 300,000 Mountain Staters had no access to safe water? […]

Purchase Power Agreement Bills Introduced in Legislature

Bipartisan support seems to be gathering around the idea of authorizing purchase power agreements (PPAs) in West Virginia.  A PPA would allow a solar installation, or other alternative generation project, to be built on a customer’s property and owned by a third-party.   Power from the installation would be purchased by the customer at lower rates […]

Harold Ward Appointed New DEP Secretary

Governor Justice recently appointed longtime Division of Environmental Protection official Harold Ward to be Secretary of the agency. Ward had been serving as the DEP’s deputy secretary of Operations and director of the Division of Mining and Reclamation, where he oversaw all operational components of the WVDEP, as well as the agency’s mining regulatory program. […]

America’s Newest National Park Is West Virginia’s First

Tucked into the omnibus spending bill that passed Congress at the end of 2020 was a measure creating the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve. This is the sixty-third national park, but the first one in West Virginia. To achieve this was not just a simple matter of changing the name of the New […]

What’s In the New Spending Law for the Environment?

On December 27, 2020, seemingly at the last minute, President Trump signed the omnibus spending bill negotiated in Congress.  Much of the news has been about the pandemic relief provided in the law.  But the law also funds many new energy and environmental initiatives. The Act’s environmental features are mostly found in a component called […]

FERC Permits Mountain Valley Pipeline to Proceed

The Mountain Valley Pipeline, which seeks to transmit fracked natural gas from Northern West Virginia to markets in Virginia and North Carolina, has been on hold since 2018.  At that time the 4th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals vacated authorizations issued by the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service for the pipeline to […]