Which Side Are You On? A Christmas Story

(A European Starling shot by Kathy Litzinger/Great Backyard Bird Count) By Cindy Ellis In the late 1800s and early 1900s a singular holiday tradition had emerged wherever hunters had access to woods, fields and waterways. “Side hunts” were held on Christmas Day. Teams were chosen and each side strove to shoot the most critters—game birds were [...]

Letter from the President

By Larry Thomas November was another busy month at the Conservancy and we are very proud of our efforts and accomplishments. During another extremely unusual year, the Board and committees have continued the hard work of “Fighting to Protect the Highlands.”  The Conservancy’s accomplishments during the significantly important campaigns to preserve the highlands during our 55 [...]

PFAS Chemicals and Safe Drinking Water at the 2023 Legislative Session

By Luanne McGovern One of the Conservancy’s priorities for the 2023 legislative session is the passage of the Clean Drinking Water Act of 2023, modeled after HB4055 from the 2022 session [HB 4055 - 2022]. This act would take the first steps in West Virginia to regulate and treat Per -and Poly-fluoralkyl substances (collectively referred [...]

Getting Oil and Gas Wells Plugged

By John McFerrin The problem Orphaned gas wells are everywhere. There are about 6,500 gas wells in West Virginia that are no longer producing and need to be plugged. West Virginia currently has a program to plug these wells and a stream (or a trickle) of money to pay for it. The difficulty is that [...]

A Tribute to Lenore McComas Coberly

By Cindy Rank Thanksgiving is a time of giving thanks for many things, including special people who have touched our hearts before taking their leave of this world to walk “the Path of Souls,” the transition from death often referred to in William Kent Kreuger’s Cork O’Connor mystery series.   Lenore McComas Coberly was one of [...]

Issues with Corridor H in Wardensville

By Bonni McKeown, Stewards of Potomac Highlands  People around Wardensville, a tiny, blossoming town in eastern Hardy County, are not certain about the West Virginia Department of Highway’s plans to continue Corridor H, which now stops at the western edge of town. Like residents and tourists in Davis and Thomas in Tucker County, many fear [...]

Earthjustice Update: Unregulated Coal Ash Dumping in Coal Mines

An update from Earthjustice November 28th, the Office of Surface Mining (OSM) received our Notice of Intent to Sue concerning their failure to respond to our 2015 petition to regulate dumping of coal ash in active and abandoned coal mines.  EPA's 2015 coal ash rule exempted coal ash dumped at minesites, and OSM has not [...]

The Failure of the West Virginia Public Service Commission to Serve the Public

By James M. Van Nostrand, Charles M. Love, Jr. Endowed ProfessorDirector, Center for Energy & Sustainable DevelopmentWest Virginia University College of Law One of the most powerful and yet relatively unknown agencies in West Virginia is the Public Service Commission (PSC). The PSC is charged with regulating the rates and practices of all the investor-owned [...]

The West Virginia Land Trust and the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy

Evie (Evelyn Webster) lovin’ those big trees in Doddridge County. (Photo courtesy of WV Land Trust) By Luanne McGovern I recently participated in a tour of one of the latest projects undertaken by the West Virginia Land Trust – the Mammoth Preserve in Kanawha County. It is truly mammoth – 5,000 acres of woodlands and former [...]

BOOK REVIEW: Rambunctious Garden, Saving Nature in a Post-Wild World 

 By Emma Marris, reviewed by John McFerrin            Much of what the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy does involves land management. Should our state parks be managed for timber production? (No!) How should the National Forest be managed? Is the Forest Service leaning too far toward timber production or too far away from wildlife preservation? We do [...]