April 26-28, 2013

Join us at Tygart Lake State Park just south of Grafton WV

Friday evening: Casual get-together, pizza and snacks in the Lodge

Saturday morning: Committee and Board Planning

Saturday afternoon: Day trip to longwall mine site and T.E.A.M.* program

Saturday Evening Program: 7 p.m. at the Park Lodge

Discussion of Health Issues associated with the fossil fuel industry

Michael Hendryx , PhD.

Research Director for the West Virginia University Institute for Health Policy Research.

Jill Kriesky, PhD.

Associate Director for the Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project







~~~ for planning purposes please contact us to let us know you’re coming~~~

Cindy Rank, clrank2@gmail.com,  304-924-5802  … or …

Marilyn Shoenfeld, marilyn.shoenfeld@gmail.com, 304-866-3484

*T.E.A.M. is WVHC Organizational Member Taylor Environmental Action Membership whose members live and work in the area of the new 6,000 acre Tygart #1 mine and Leer Slurry Cell.


How to get there: Located in the north central part of West Virginia, Tygart Lake is easily accessible by taking north/south U.S. Route 119 or east/west U.S. Route 50 to Grafton. From Grafton take Rt. 50 to South Grafton and follow signs to the park.

For GPS navigation enter: Bathhouse Road, Tygart Lake State Park, Grafton WV.

Written by Administrator in: WV Highlands Voice |

WVU alum publishes Peace Corps memoir


West Virginia native and West Virginia University alumn Julian Martin has traveled many places in his life, but one experience moved him to write a memoir – his time in the Peace Corps.

Today 75-year-old Martin now resides in Charleston, W.Va., with his wife, where he enjoys walking, swimming, spending time with family and reflecting back on his first published book: “Imagonna: Peace Corps Memories.”

After graduating from West Virginia University in 1959 with a degree in chemical engineering, Martin found a job working at the Naval Propellant Plant.


Read more…

Written by Administrator in: WV Highlands Voice |

Evergreen Wreath Making Workshop

November 28 2010 Evergreen Wreath Making Workshop

This is how much fun people had last year. Now it is time for the 2010 Wreath Making Workshop.

Join us on November 28, 2010 for an afternoon of fun at White Grass Ski Touring Center in Canaan Valley learning how to make your own holiday wreath. Bring a hand pruner and any decorations or adornments you’d like to add to your wreath. We’ll have all the materials you’ll need including a variety of firs to construct your very own piece of artwork. We’ll get started at 1pm and be around all afternoon. Contact Dave Savilledaves@labyrinth.net

Written by Administrator in: Hiking-Outings,The Highlands Voice,WV Highlands Voice |

Green Carpet Premiere Toxic Soup Film At WVSU

Associate Producer Lisa Bragg,
Cordially invites you to attend a
Green Carpet Premiere of
Saturday May 1, 2010
6:00 pm
West Virginia State University   Davis Fine Arts
Institute, West Virginia
Director Rory Owen Delany will be in attendance.

‘Toxic Soup’, a feature eco-documentary film by Rory Owen Delaney, connects the current spikes in childhood autism, cancer, and other serious illnesses with the business practices of Fortune 500 companies: DuPont, Bayer, Ashland Oil, and Massey Energy. “Toxic Soup” shares the stories of everyday Americans fighting to keep their blood, water and air safe from pollution.

We are proud to announce that the world premiere of Toxic Soup will be at the Atlanta Film Festival April 18, 2010.

Through a juried system of selection, the Atlanta Film Festival premieres narrative, documentary, animation, and student films and videos of the highest artistic quality. The film festival includes both feature films and short films. On April 15, the Atlanta Film Festival 365 opens in Atlanta, Georgia, one of the longest running and most respected festivals in the USA, with over three decades of showing the latest, most cutting edge independent film. West Virginia State University Graduate Student Lisa Bragg has been invited to attend for her work as Associate Producer on the film ‘Toxic Soup’.

On May 1, Toxic Soup will premiere in the Davis Fine Arts Theater at WVSU at 6:00pm.  Lisa Bragg would like to extend an invitation to you, your department and students to experience this rare and exciting opportunity.

We look forward to seeing you at the event.
Thank you!

Written by Administrator in: Environment,WV Highlands Voice |

In Memory of Bill Grafton

Sad news folks, Someone I always introduced as “West Virginia’s Greatest Naturalist,”  Bill Grafton, forester and botanist extrordinaire, passed away unexpectedly last Friday.  He was only 70 years old. He was well known all around the state.  A friend and mentor of mine for many years, he was a kind and gentle soul, soft spoken but an excellent and passionate educator.  Bill worked for the WVU Extension Service and was very active with the WV Native Plant Society, including as its long-time newsletter editor. He was intstrumental in getting the Master Naturalist program up and running in West Virginia.   Thoughts and prayers for his wife Emily and son Daniel.

Dave Saville

William “Bill” Grafton, 70, of West Virginia Avenue, Morgantown, passed away unexpectedly while at work at WVU on Friday, Sept. 11.

William was born in Lookout, W.Va., on Nov. 20, 1938, son of the late Albert and Esta Nutter Grafton. He served in the U.S. Army from 1961-1963. He graduated from WVU with his Bachelor of Science in wildlife in 1961 and his Master of Science in forestry in 1965.

Bill was an avid environmentalist and was considered an expert on the botany of the Appalachian region. He taught at WVU for 43 years, during which time he impacted the lives of many throughout the state and in the College of Agriculture and Forestry. Bill made major contributions to the state’s botanical archives and helped found the WV Master Naturalist program. He was a constant presence at National 4-H Forestry contests, WV Forest Industries Camp and Conservation Camp. He was co-editor of the Checklist and Atlas of the Vascular Flora of West Virginia. He was active in the WV Native Plant Society, Wildlife Society, Forestry Alumni, American Forestry Association and The Nature Conservancy. Bill was inducted into the WV Agriculture and Forestry Hall of Fame and was an honorary member of WVFFA.

In his personal life, Bill was a loving husband, father, brother, uncle and friend. He was known for a wry sense of humor, joyful disposition and steadfast dependability in all aspects. A highly intelligent person, he traveled on five continents during his life and was exploring the world to the end. Known for orchid hunting, Bill was happiest surrounded by nature and friends. He is survived by his wife, Emily Williams Grafton, in a marriage of 29 years; a son, Daniel Grafton; his brothers Edwin, James, Allen, Charles, Thomas and Donald; and a sister, Margarete. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by two sisters, Marie and Neola “Bet,” and a brother, Michael. Cremation services provided by Hastings Funeral Home. Friends will be received at the Erickson Alumni Center in Morgantown, beginning at 1 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 27. In lieu of flowers, donations for a scholarship fund may be sent to Dick Waybright, West Virginia Forestry Association (WVFA), P.O. Box 718, Ripley, W.Va. 25271. Send condolences online at www.hastingsfuneralhome.com.


Annual meeting, elections, and fall board meeting

Date: Sunday, October 25
Place: Greenbrier County Public Library, Lewisburg
Time: building will open at 9, meetings begin at 9:30

The board returns to South-of-the-Mon for the first time in two years. Following the membership and board meetings, we’ll take a short hike in the newly-designated Big Draft Wilderness (about 15 miles north). Lewisburg is famous for many things, including a mayor who strongly supported wilderness, some good places to eat, and its location equidistant from Elkins and Charleston.


From I-64, take Lewisburg Exit onto Rt. 219 South. (Take a right turn off of 64 if coming from the west and a left if coming from the east.) Proceed to the 3rd traffic light and turn right onto Washington Street (Rt. 60 West). Proceed through one traffic light and continue up the hill past Food & Friends Restaurant on the left. You’ll pass between the old library location on the right (a large pink brick building) and the North House Museum on the left. The new library is located on Robert W. McCormick Drive, which is the first left above the North House and Community College parking lot. The library’s driveway exits to the right off of Robert W. McCormick Drive and winds around to our upper level, which is the library’s main entrance.

Written by Administrator in: WV Highlands Voice |

Evergreen Wreath Making Workshop at Whitegrass Ski Touring Center

Sunday, November 29, Evergreen Wreath Making Workshop at Whitegrass Ski Touring Center , Canaan Valley

Join us for an afternoon of fun learning how to make your own holiday wreath. Bring a hand prunner and any decorations or adornments you’d like to add to your wreath. We’ll have all the materials you’ll need including a variety of firs to construct your very own piece of artwork. We’ll get started at 1pm and be around all afternoon. Contact Dave Saville daves@labyrinth.net or 304-692-8118

Written by Administrator in: WV Highlands Voice |

WV Chapter Sierra Club is having a SierraFest 2009

West Virginia Chapter
SierraFest 2009
“25 years Exploring, Enjoying, and
Protecting our Planet”
With special guest
Allison Chin, National Sierra Club President
October 9-11

Camp Virgil Tate, Charleston, WV

SierraFest 2009 Schedule of Activities

Friday, October 9
2:00 PM Check-in and Explore Camp Virgil Tate
3:00 PM Photo Exhibit Antrim Caskey
4:00 PM “Win-Lose-or-Draw” Sandy Cress
5:00 PM Social Hour with Allison Chin, National Sierra Club President
WV Club Leaders and legislative overview and updates
6:00 PM Dinner
7:00 PM Coal Country Film with Mari-Lynn Evans, Director
9:00 PM Camp Fire “hotdogs, smores, & more”

Saturday, October 10
8:00 AM Breakfast
9:00 AM Kickoff “25 Years of Victory”
Speakers: Mary Wimmer, Beth Little, Mary Davis, Jim Kotcon, & Jim Sconyers
9:45 AM Building Community Power for Economic Justice and Sustainability
Speaker: Danny Chiotos
10:30 – Briefings and Workshops: Wildlife, Good Jobs/Green Jobs, Mountain Top Removal,
11:30 AM Greening Your Campus, Bayer/MIC, Wilderness
12:00 PM Lunch
1:00 PM Living With Mountaintop Removal in the Coalfields
Speaker: Maria Gunnoe
2:00 PM Happy 25th & Birthday Cake
Speakers: Mary Davis, Mary Wimmer
2:30 PM Sierra Student Coalition: The Next Generation
3:30 PM Workshops
Art – Sandy Cress Solar / Wind Demonstration and Workshop – PIMBY
PATH – Jim Kotcon / Bill DePaulo Outings Training – Mike Price
6:00 PM Dinner – America’s Wilderness
Speaker:Doug Scott
6:30 PM Slide Show with Photojournalist, Antrim Caskey
7:00 PM Raffle/Drawing
7:30 PM Awards
8:00 PM Live Music with Maya Nye

Sunday, October 11
8:00 AM Breakfast
9:00 AM Outings/Workshops *(People going on an outing need to check out at this time.)
Kayford Mountain, a Mountain Top Removal Site – Jim Sconyers
Bayer Plant tour – Kevin Fooce
Art/Photography Workshop – Antrim Caskey
10:00 AM Briefing Coal to Liquids and Carbon Capture
10:30 AM Briefing Marcellus Shale Gas
11:00 AM Briefing Environmental Justice
11:30 AM Checkout – Have a safe trip home!

Download flier with registration form.

Written by Administrator in: WV Highlands Voice |

Stop The Presses!

On Friday May 1 our Editor of The Highlands Voice John McFerrin sent the May copy of The Highlands Voice to the printers and to me to post on our web site. He mistakenly sent The Birds Words, the newsletter of Mabscott Elementary School (where his children go). The next day the mistake was noticed and the correct newsletter was sent to the printers. For those of you who may want to see what you missed here is the May issue of The Bird’s Words.

Written by Administrator in: WV Highlands Voice |


bildeBy Cindy Rank

Over the past several years WV Highlands Conservancy has joined with other local and national groups to weigh in on the question of how best to dispose of coal combustion waste (CCW).

The question has been simmering in the halls of Congress, the offices of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement
(OSMRE) since the Solid Waste Disposal Act Amendments (SWDA) were enacted in 1980.

The SWDA directed EPA to report back to Congress about whether or not CCW is Hazardous Waste and to determine how those wastes should be managed. In the ensuing years EPA has been straddling the fence shifting first to one side and then the other as political pressure demands.

But while EPA straddled, the combustion wastes from coal-fired power plants piled up in a variety of wet and dry lagoons, landfills and impoundments across the country and every state developed its own method of regulating the disposal.

Then FOOM ! ……The failure of the big ash containment facility at Tennessee Valley Authority power plant in Harriman, TN a couple days before Christmas 2008 awakened everyone from the 29-year stupor and all have focused on the potential problems at the thousands of sites across the country.

According to a report issued January 7, 2009, by the Environmental Integrity Project, “…dozens of contaminated sites have occurred all over the US and EPA has admitted that many
more probably exist but have not been discovered due to the lack of any monitoring at most sites. In all there are approximately 2,000 CCW dumps in America, 600 operating landfills and surface impoundments, 750 closed dump sites, 400-500 minefills, and hundreds of largely unknown structural fills. Most are ticking time bombs with citizens living around them unaware of any danger – like lab mice in some neverending experiment.”

While the TVA failure in Tennessee may have been a wake up call, the disposal of coal ash (and other combustion wastes from power plants – slag, bottom ash, flue gas desulfurization materials, etc. is a national problem that demands a national solution.

On January 14, 2009 Congressman Nick Rahall (D-WV) introduced “A Coal Ash Reclamation and Environmental Safety Act of 2009” and is planning a hearing in the U.S. House of Representatives in the near future.

Congressman Rahall’s proposed bill seeks to prevent any failure or breach of ash containment “impoundments” (i.e. “dams or embankments used to retain …coal ash, slag, and flue gas desulfurization materials stored or disposed of in liquid, semi-liquid or solid form.”) The bill gives the Secretary of the Interior the authority to promulgate regulations re: design, construction and maintenance “suitably similar” to the requirement for impoundments under the Surface Mine Act.

The regulation suggested in the Rahall bill may result in better engineering and design of new containment facilities and may provide for more thorough and frequent monitoring of the stability of the impoundments. However, it says nothing of liners to prevent the leaching of toxic contaminants into ground or nearby surface waters or monitoring for possible contamination.

As for existing impoundments, the bill requires an inventory of all impoundments within 12 months and a report to Congress no later than a year after the inventory is completed. The inventory is to include an assessment of design, stability and engineering of embankments, basin characterization, an assessment of risks to surface and groundwater and a determination on the degree of risk each impoundment poses to human and e n v i r o n m e n t a l health.

At first blush some environmental organizations that have been involved with CCW issues over the years see the Rahall bill as a possible good first step, but continue to see as essential more involvement and coordination with EPA.

For those of us who have encouraged EPA to manage this metal laden waste as hazardous, the Rahall bill falls short of dealing with the potential water contamination or requiring liners, leachate collection, groundwater monitoring and routine analysis of CCW’s. (the waste contains numerous hazardous materials including arsenic, selenium, lead, mercury, cadmium, chromium, boron, thallium and molybdenum. Water pollution has resulted in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Indiana, North Dakota and New Mexico.) Nor does the bill give any incentive to move away from wet dumps entirely and move toward properly managed dry storage.

…. As I’ve heard some say, even our household waste is regulated more carefully than these toxic ash dumps.

Whatever national regulation can be worked out, the time is now to take action before the fervor of the moment fades



All of us at West Virginia Highlands Conservancy would like to give a big welcome to Charleston Gazette staff writer Ken Ward’s new blog COAL TATTOO.


Written by Administrator in: Mining Matters,Mountaintop Removal,WV Highlands Voice |

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