As The Highlands Voice goes to press the proposal to timber in West Virginia’s State Parks is almost certainly dead. What began as a rumor reached the status of conventional wisdom and even had a Senator issuing a statement announcing its death. ”Crossover day” came and went without action. Crossover day is the deadline by which a bill must have been acted upon by either the Houses or the Senate. If a bill has not been acted upon by either the House or the Senate by that date, the other chamber may not act upon it.
The original proposal would have allowed timbering in all State Parks. Faced with substantial opposition, leaders proposed a “pilot project” that would allow timbering in only Watoga State Park. This got people in Pocahontas County even more riled up without appreciably reducing the opposition elsewhere.
In the face of this opposition, leaders have apparently given up on this idea, at least for now. At the West Virginia Legislature bad ideas have a way of reviving themselves between sessions so it may always be back next year.
Everyone can be pleased to see the effectiveness of people’s voices and the Legislature’s responsiveness. There was widespread and vocal opposition to the proposal and the Legislature listened.
Of course, fat possums run late (see Glossary). Nothing is truly safe until the Legislature turns out the lights and goes home. Someone with enough power and enough knowledge of how to manipulate the rules of the Legislature has the power to bring dead bills back to life. If we see a flash of lightening and shouts of, “It’s alive! It’s alive!” we will know that this has happened.
For right now, however, the proposal is dead.