Congress Begins to Shape Climate Policy

By Perry Bryant, Climate Committee Chairman             There are going to be many twists and turns in the Congressional battle over climate policy. And anything I write might be slightly outdated by the time you have an opportunity to read this. But here’s where things are at the beginning of August, and what you can do [...]

Thoughts from our president

The Conservancy is very excited to welcome Cory Chase our Program Director. Cory will be working with the board and its committee chairs as well as our partner organizations providing support and assistance as we continue to tackle the various projects and issues that WVHC has been working on to, as we say on our [...]

Dark Skies over Watoga

By Louanne Fatora  Editor’s note: The Watoga State Park Foundation is in the middle of an effort to have Watoga State Park and the adjacent Calvin Price State Forest designated as a Dark Sky Park by the International Dark-Sky Association.   Here one of its Board members talks about the process.  The West Virginia Highlands Conservancy has written a [...]

What Are Synchronous Fireflies?

Fireflies (also called lightning bugs) are beetles. Most of their lifecycle is spent in the larval stage (1-2 years), where they feed on snails, worms, and smaller insects in the leaf litter on the forest floor. Once they mature into the adult form, they only live for about 3-4 weeks and many do not feed. [...]

Mountain Valley Pipeline Hits a Big Snag

The United States Environmental Protection Agency has recommended a permit the Mountain Valley Pipeline needs to cross streams and wetlands in West Virginia be denied.              Under the Clean Water Act, the Mountain Valley Pipeline is required to have a permit to cross streams and wetlands.  The United States Army Corps of Engineers has the authority to [...]

Big Fun at Camp Waldo!

“Hi Ho!  Hi Ho!  It’s off to camp we go!” That’s what they sang at Camp Waldo in Summers County this year and they had a great time!  You may remember that we shared word of this new camp in the February 2020 issue of The Highlands Voice, and one of our two articles that explained our WVHC [...]

Dolly Sods Wilderness Stewards are at the trailheads

By Dave Johnston During July the Dolly Sods Wilderness Stewards project hit the ground with a running start. In partnership with the Monongahela National Forest (MNF), WVHC is organizing volunteers to address issues challenging the wilderness values of Dolly Sods and surrounding areas. The first and most visible element, the Wilderness Trailhead Stewards, has kicked [...]

The History of the World

             Keeping watch  on the summer skies,        the lolling clouds, the rising curls of        sidewalk heat,      I might hold in mind    that a scant three years ago,       up in the ascending ground           of those western wooded purple distances,             I sloshed around in the Red Creek,                 its dark rusty stain of dissolved tannins                    encircling my ankles,                      its [...]

Changes Coming to Endangered Species Act Implementation

Congress enacted the Endangered Species Act in 1973 to provide for the conservation of endangered and threatened fish, wildlife, plants and their natural habitats   Under the Act, agencies are required to insure that any action “is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any endangered species or threatened species or result in the destruction or [...]

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline: Now What Happens?

By John McFerrin             In July, 2021, the developers of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline announced that they were cancelling the project.  Depending on one’s point of view, there was joy, jubilation, weeping, wailing, gnashing of teeth, or some combination.             While there was shouting, it’s not all over.  There remain the questions of what happens to the parts that [...]

Meet the New Guy!

A self-introduction by Cory Chase Hello Highlands Voice readers! My name is Cory Chase and I was recently hired as the new Program Director for the WV Highlands Conservancy (WVHC). I’m very excited to join this group and its network of organizations that do the hard work to preserve and protect WV’s natural resources for [...]

Board Highlights

By John McFerrin For the last time in what we hope will be a long time, we popped into our Zoom boxes for the regular summer meeting of the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy Board of Directors.   The highlight was that we got to meet our new Program Director, Cory Chase. He has a long job [...]

Mining Declining

This chart from the United States Energy Information Administration graphically shows the decline in coal production in the United States.  It shows a 24% decrease from 2019 to 2020.  The change is even more dramatic in West Virginia.  Other data from the same agency (not shown on this graph) shows that West Virginia had a 28% decrease in [...]

DEP levies $51K fine for Mountaineer XPress Pipeline water pollution violations

By Mike Tony  West Virginia environmental regulators have again fined the operator of the Mountaineer XPress Pipeline for water pollution violations. The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection has assessed Columbia Gas Transmission a $51,560 penalty for violations dating back to July 2020, adding to the TC Energy subsidiary’s history of environmental violations that predates the pipeline’s [...]