Corps of Engineers Suspends Permit for Atlantic Coast Pipeline

The United States Army has suspended the permit which the Atlantic Coast Pipeline needs to cross any of the 1556 streams and wetlands in West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina which the project had anticipated going over or through. The problem is the Pipeline’s reliance upon what is known as a Nationwide Permit 12. Under the [...]

Forest Service Projects We Are Watching

November proved to be another month of increased of activity. Mother Nature also provided the first snow of the winter for much of the highlands. There was also a flurry of activity with issues about which we are most concerned. Last month I reported that WVHC submitted comment letters for proposed projects within the Monongahela [...]

Pump Storage Project Proposed on Backbone Mountain

By Kent Karriker Recently a company called FreedomWorks, LLC applied to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for a preliminary permit to study the feasibility of constructing a pump storage facility on Backbone Mountain, just north of Blackwater Canyon.  They are calling it the Big Run Pump Storage Hydroproject due to its proximity to Big [...]

Native Candy Darter Added to federal Endangered Species List

By Rick Steelhammer The candy darter, a colorful 3-inch fish known to exist in only five relatively healthy populations scattered through West Virginia's Gauley, Greenbrier and lower New rivers, has been listed as an endangered species by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The tiny fish, a member of the perch family, gets its name [...]

Book News

Why Birds Matter; Avian Ecological Function and Ecosystem Services, edited by Cagan H. Sekercioglu, Daniel G. Wenny & Christopher J. Whelan, (University of Chicago Press, 2016) Reviewed by Cynthia D. Ellis The “year of the bird,” 2018, is now gone. Within our own organization, we may think we know the “why” of the value of [...]

With Thanks to Bill McNeel, a Director for the Decades (LITERALLY)

By Cindy Rank As noted in the Board Highlights article in the November 2018 Highlands Voice, Bill McNeel’s recent departure from the Board ends a service that began “approximately forever ago”. It’s hard to tell just when Bill came on the scene, but his presence has been felt from nearly the beginning of the West [...]

End of an Era on the Monongahela National Forest

By Kent Karriker On January 3, 2019, the era of Forest Supervisor Clyde Thompson on the Monongahela National Forest will come to a close.  Clyde is retiring after more than 40 years of federal service.  He has been the Forest Supervisor on the Monongahela for the last 16 years.  I worked for Clyde for 15 [...]

Making the Grid Resilient: How Do We Get There?

By John McFerrin The new buzzword in energy policy is “resiliency.”  The idea is that we need to make sure that our electrical grid is reliable, even when faced with sudden and unexpected surges in demand, disruptions of fuel supply, or unforeseen circumstance. Now there are a couple of different approaches to addressing this problem: [...]

West Virginia Environmental Council Developing 2019 Legislative Priorities

By Frank Young At its annual fall meeting, the West Virginia Environmental Council (WVEC) Board of Directors outlined its first draft of legislative priorities for the 2019 regular session of the West Virginia Legislature.  This was done after several weeks of surveys to its member organizations for their assessments of what changes in state environmental [...]

Mapping Mountaintop Coal Mining’s Yearly Spread in Appalachia

By Robin A. Smith DURHAM, N.C. -- The coal industry may have declined in the last decade because of the rise of cheap natural gas, but a coal mining method called mountaintop removal is still taking place, particularly in central Appalachia. A new web-based mapping tool shows, in more detail than ever before, the land [...]

Canaan Wildlife Refuge Drops Plan for Commercial Logging

By Rick Steelhammer A plan to commercially log more than 1,600 acres of the Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge to achieve plant and wildlife habitat improvement goals has been dropped. The plan — announced to the public in August — was initially scheduled to begin this winter on Middle Ridge, off the refuge’s A-Frame Road. [...]