Bad Actor Coal Company Seeks to Expand Surface Mine in Endangered Candy Darter Habitat

(Ryan Hagerty/USFWS) By Willie Dodson, Appalachian Voices The highland ridges and swift mountain streams of northern Greenbrier County, West Virginia, comprise an exceptional landscape and unique ecosystems. Here along the edge of the Monongahela National Forest, peaks topping out above 4,000 feet in elevation host some of the nation’s southernmost stands of red spruce forest. [...]

Thoughts from our President

By Larry Thomas We were very excited that the February 2023 issue of The Highlands Voice was printed in color for the very first time. In addition, Olivia, our communications director is in Tasmania, Australia, and was able to put the Voice together from approximately 9,887 miles around the world and has done the same [...]

Drinking Water Treatment Process

By Rick Watson History There are records of humans treating water for thousands of years. However, scientists only began understanding the sources and impacts of drinking water contamination in the late 1800s. During this time the focus remained on visible contamination because germs and their relationship to disease were not understood until the 1880s when [...]

Energy Efficiency: The Cheapest Choice

By John McFerrin There is no free lunch. Getting energy that we can use always has an environmental cost, including some release of greenhouse gasses. More solar energy strikes the earth every day than we humans could possibly use. While this solar energy may keep us from freezing to death and powers the plant life [...]

2023 WV Legislature Update

By Luanne McGovern By the time you are reading this, the 86th West Virginia legislative session will be drawing to its close. Thank goodness—March 11 cannot come soon enough. So far, it is hard to declare many victories. But it seems the goal each year is to make sure the worst bills do not move [...]

It’s Time to Stop Clear-Cutting: The Battle for the Mon 

A grove of older-growth trees near Leadmine set to be clear-cut in the Upper Cheat River project. (John Coleman) By Joseph Dumire Forgetting history, the United States Forest Service (USFS) is on the brink of making the same mistake they did 50 years ago: clear-cutting the Mon. What they have forgotten is in 1973, citizen [...]

Dolly Sods Wilderness Stewards Program Expands with New Trail Maintenance Teams

By Dave Johnston As reported in last month’s Highlands Voice, the Dolly Sods Wilderness Stewards is taking big steps to expand the activity and reach of the program. We will continue with our tried-and-true Trailhead Stewards and hope to be able to provide more training for new Stewards through the year. We will do at least [...]

The Value of State Parks

By Robert Beanblossom In recent years, many short-sighted individuals have developed a perception that West Virginia’s state park and forest system is a financial liability to the state—a ‘luxury’ that the state cannot afford—that they ‘lose’ money and that the system is ‘mismanaged’ and should be made to produce a profit. There is a strong [...]

WV Stands to Benefit from New Methane Rule

By Morgan King Born and raised in Kanawha County, I’ve spent most of my life near the Kanawha River. Growing up, I witnessed extractive resources move through the area on our waterways and railroads. I would count passing train cars piled high with coal and tanks filled with oil and watch barges filled with more [...]

Does the eastern US have room for cougars? 

(Nicky Pe/Pexels) By Peggy Clark Klandagi in the East Before European colonization, the land that is today the eastern United States was home to a richer biodiversity of plants and wildlife. The idea of a former pristine, untouched wilderness is a myth, though—the Native Americans passed down land stewardship practices and knowledge across generations. Many tribes revered the [...]

Thoughts on ORVs on Public Lands

By Dave Johnston I retired to West Virginia in large part because of its wide selection of wild and scenic natural areas provide excellent opportunities for immersion in nature, enjoyment of wildlife in its natural environment, broad and largely undisturbed vistas, and the study and understanding of natural processes. Through protection and sensitive management of [...]

Another False Solution to Issue of Plastic Waste
By Randi Pokladnik

As consumers become increasingly aware of the health risks and environmental issues associated with a world drowning in plastics, the petrochemical industry is advocating another false solution to address the plastic crisis facing the planet: Advanced recycling or chemical recycling. Chemical recycling uses incineration processes including pyrolysis, gasification and solvolysis to break down plastic waste. [...]

A New “Durable” (sic) Definition of Waters of the US

By John McFerrin On Dec. 30, 2022, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of engineers announced a rule establishing a definition of “waters of the U.S.” In announcing the rule, the agencies involved said, “The final rule restores essential water protections that were in place prior to 2015 under [...]