Bonding: Are the chickens finally coming home to roost?

By Cindy Rank West Virginia received approval for primacy for the Surface Mining Regulatory program in 1982-3.  As a member of the local group Friends of the Little Kanawha (FOLK) and a relative newbie to the WV Highlands Conservancy I recall being at the legislative hearing where the legislature debated the idea of assuming from the [...]

Thoughts from our president

April was another month of dealing with the restrictions associated with COVID-19, what is now known as the silent enemy. Although the coronavirus has us all hunkered down, Mother Nature is on the move. Spring has arrived in our mountains. As winter has faded away, driving and hiking through the mountains, one finds evidence of [...]

Virtual Board Highlights

Since we are all sheltering in place, staying at least one turkey vulture wingspan apart, we could not have a regular Board meeting this quarter.             A big part of the Board meeting is Board members and committees reporting on what they have been doing.  Instead of having that in person, we did it by email.             The [...]

Our readers write

The Highlands Voice, After  looking  over your  survey  regarding  so-called  "global  warming," more  recently  called  "climate  change,"  I  hope  this  letter  will  not  be butchered  as  was  my  previous  communication.     Why?     As  a  supporter  of academic  freedom,   I  believe  all  opinions  must  be  expressed. Regarding number 3 of the survey, there is no proof storms are more severe today compared to those of the past.  As proposed by Al Gore, I do not wish to be taxed for my “human activities” when the   sea  level  rises,   the  birds  move  north  or  up Dolly Sods, there’s a  heavy  overnight  rain  storm,   or  I  don't condemn little children about  their  "carbon  footprints." Recently I [...]

We Surveyed the Members; What Did They Say?

By the WVHC Climate Change Committee The Climate Change Committee conducted a historic survey of Highlands Conservancy members on climate change in March and the first part of April. This was the first time the Conservancy has surveyed its members on an issue. The Climate Change Committee is grateful for those members who took the [...]

ClimateWise – Brook Trout, we need to listen to them

By Jeff Witten, Elkins, on behalf of the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy Climate Change Committee  As I type this article, looking at Shavers Fork on March 28, Elkins has just set a record high temperature of 84° beating the prior record by 3°. We all know the Eastern Brook Trout is the West Virginia State [...]

West Virginia Considers Weakening Water Protections

By Randy Kessling The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection held a virtual public hearing on April 20 to receive comments on its proposed Biological Assessment Rule which governs the process by which the state’s wadeable streams are evaluated and determination made on the health of each stream.  The Highlands Conservancy last reported on the issue [...]

West Virginia Admits That Its Coal Mine Reclamation Bonding System Is On Brink of Collapse

By Peter Morgan A recent filing by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) makes clear that state mine regulators are completely unprepared to deal with the coming tsunami of coal mine abandonments. Since 2015 when mine operators began entering bankruptcy, Sierra Club has warned that lax reclamation bonding policies left states vulnerable to the [...]

The New Trail: Finding a way while keeping apart during the pandemic

By Hugh Rogers             Twenty-some years ago, Ruth and I led a hike for the Highlands Conservancy’s “Mon-a-thon” program. We brought tea. When we reached some flat rocks off the Highlands Scenic Highway, our friends Young and Chung Moon demonstrated the Korean tea ceremony. The tea and company spurred a lively, wide-ranging conversation.              Now I remember [...]

Ruminations on Mon Timber Harvesting Planning and Wildlife Management Planning–Twin Misguided Cousins

By Jack Slocumb I have been reading in the Voice about the development of the Management Plan for the Mon. In regard to timber harvesting operations, I would like to suggest that the Conservancy push very aggressively that all harvesting activities be certified by The Forest Stewardship Council. I haven't read anywhere that this is [...]

Federal Court Voids Key Permit

By John McFerrin             A United States District Court Judge in Montana has ruled that Nationwide Permit 12 issued pursuant to the Clean Water Act is invalid because it was issued without following the Endangered Species Act.  Even though this happened in Montana, it could have dramatic implications for both the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the Mountain [...]

Spruce Knob

Up Spruce Knob road in cloud mist How like the heart when absence outweighs that heft once carried Forest Roads 12 and 1024 Startle doe at East Overlook light rain & one cardinal flower Seven more deer one fawn eohippus-sized Spruce smell invokes memory’s myriad things: Far West  Far North  Ultima Thule like 10,000 songs [...]

Fossilized Sunshine

Fossilized sunshine, we dig it out of the ground It can still shine brightly and it makes the world go ‘round We use it all day long, by the ton and by the pound Fossilized sunshine, it makes the world go ‘round Fossilized sunshine, three hundred million years old Like a present from the devil, [...]