By John McFerrin
Even though we had spent the previous day Zooming with the speakers for the Fall Review (well worth it, see story on p. ), we climbed back into our little Zoom boxes for both the Annual Meeting and the quarterly Board meeting.
The only business conducted at the Annual Meeting was the election of officers and of Board members at large. We normally elect officers in even numbered years and half of the at large Board members every other year. Last year the covid cautiousness that cancelled the Annual Meeting threw us out of whack. This year we affirmed half of the at large Board members to serve until 2022 and elected the other half to serve until 2023. The current officers will continue their service until 2023. We are now back in whack.
We added two new at large Board members. One is Luanne McGovern. She has been a member for about twenty years and describes herself as excited to serve. She lives in Charleston but has property in Tucker County.
The other new Board member is Susan Rosenblum. She has been a member since the 90s. She moved to the Elkins area and, except for a time in Pittsburgh, has lived around there ever since. She lives in Canaan Valley and has a cabin in Shavers Fork.
After a couple of preliminaries, we kicked off the quarterly Board meeting with a report from Program Director Cory Chase. Even though he talks to President Larry Thomas every day, the Board as a whole does not get to hear what he is up to. It was nice to hear.
He is helping with the Dolly Sods Wilderness Stewards, including logging data into a spread sheet. He has updated our logo, helped plan the Fall Review, overseen revising the message on the back of the I (heart) Mountains sticker, spiffed up our presence on Facebook, prepared some updated graphics for our website, and worked on a PowerPoint presentation on All Terrain Vehicles on public lands.
Membership Secretary Dave Saville reported that membership was looking up. We are not all the way through the year yet but he thinks we will show a growth in membership for the year.
The Treasurer’s Report was as it should be: boring. Money coming in; money going out. Paying our bills about as we expected.
Frank Young reported on the activities of the West Virginia Environmental Council. He was happy to report that for the first time ever the money to pay a lobbyist would be in the bank before the lobbyist began working. In the past WVEC had often hired a lobbyist on faith, counting on raising the money before it was time to pay the lobbyist.
Frank also reported that the WVEC was still soliciting ideas about its legislative priorities for next year. Larry will be sending in ideas from West Virginia Highlands Conservancy very soon.
Perry Bryant reported on climate change. From all we know, there is still much legislative turmoil. It appears that the Clean Electricity Payment Program has been dropped from the Build Back Better proposal. It would have reimbursed utilities for investing in clean energy and penalized those who did not. The proposal to impose a fee on methane emissions is still up in the air. There is still $550 billion in the Build Back Better proposal, more than any other single category. With the Clean Electricity Payment Program gone there are few requirements to move toward clean energy but incentives remain.
Internationally, things are still touch and go. Perry shared a graph showing the concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere over time. It showed carbon dioxide emissions going steadily upward before the Paris accords. After the Paris accords it levels off. With the Glasgow commitments to be made next week it really starts to go down. It still is not projected to go down enough to keep warming to less than 1.5 degrees centigrade below pre-industrial levels.
Bottom line: this is hard and we need to be doing more.
Cindy Rank reported that we are still pursuing some ongoing litigation. She also reported on the NIOSH facility that was approved near Mace. It is the subject of a story in this issue (p. ).
Kent Karriker reported on the work the Public Lands Committee was doing to monitor proposed projects on the Monongahela National Forest. There are seven projects, all in various stages of review.
Dave Johnston reported on the Wilderness Stewards which are active at Dolly Sods. The program is going great. They have gathered a lot of data on how many people are using the Wilderness area, how long they are staying, etc. They have provided a lot of information to users.
What he really wants is more help. There are about twenty volunteer stewards but there are a lot of trailheads to cover. It is unrealistic to expect these twenty people to cover as many trailheads as there are. Anyone who wants to help should contact Dave Johnston at email@example.com.
Hugh Rogers reported that even is the project goes forward it is still a hard no to the current alignment, which crosses Blackwater Canyon. He noted that there has never been a carbon accounting on the project; the concrete, the disturbance, the tree cutting, etc. will all have a carbon cost. Corridor H Alternatives intends to suggest that a carbon accounting be made part of any environmental impact study.