2018 Begins West Virginia Highlands Conservancy Second 50 Years

Sending everyone good wishes for the New Year, and hopes that it will be filled ONLY with good health, success in all those things that really matter to you…and most of all, to many wonderful, memorable moments!

The Fiftieth Anniversary celebration of the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy was touted as a rousing success and I couldn’t agree more. One hundred and thirty people went away well satisfied, inspired, and talking about the next celebration. There was a sense of what WVHC will be in the next 50 years.

I have been pondering my new role as President of WVHC, realizing the extremely high bar set by 50 years of exceptional leaders before me. WVHC is blessed with an extraordinary group of individuals serving on the Board. Each member brings an array of special talents, which serve the Board well in fulfilling our role. I will be leaning on every member for advice and guidance as we move into the future.

At the fiftieth celebration and through the “Voice”, the Board asked members for suggestions of where they would like to see WVHC move in the future, in addition to the many current activities. Numerous great suggestions have been received and the Board will begin discussing them at the January 21 meeting. Thanks to everyone for taking the time to submit your suggestions.

Looking ahead, 2018 promises to be a very challenging year. Recognizing the amount of destruction to our environment taking place in West Virginia, in the nation, and internationally is certainly cause for great concern. Just following my email from numerous organizations identifying current, very concerning issues that must be addressed has become overwhelming. WVHC certainly cannot take on every issue and must pick and choose our battles. National and state politics skewed toward private interests certainly do not help in our protection of our highlands. Every month in the “Voice” important information concerning many of the issues is presented. Thanks, John, for your much appreciated dedication to getting the “Voice” to our members.

The 2018 West Virginia Legislative Session begins January 10. WVHC is a member of, maintains a board seat on, and supports the West Virginia Environmental Council (an Internal Revenue Service approved 501(c)(4) organization). One activity of the WVEC each year is to hire a lobby team to lobby the West Virginia Legislature on issues and legislation submitted by member organizations. In addition, the lobby team closely monitors proposed legislation for issues that might be of interest to member organizations. The lobby team then meets with legislators to provide information concerning the member proposed legislation or issues, pro and con, with proposed legislation. The top three priorities for 2018 are: 1. to defend air and water, 2. rein in fossil fuels and 3. promote renewables and energy efficiency. The lobby team has been hired for 2018 and the Governmental Affairs Committee has been preparing a plan of action, including recruiting citizen lobbyists.

I am looking forward to a very successful 2018.


Larry Thomas