September 2012 Morgantown Newsletter

Membership Meeting – September 19th

Our Fall Membership Meeting will be held Wednesday, September 19, 7-9 p.m. at the Aull Center (Historic Garlow House) 351 Spruce Street. We will have as our special guest Natalie Tennant (WV Secretary of State) who will be addressing “Voter Issues in West Virginia”.

The LWV has always tried to lower barriers to participation in government. At our Annual Meeting in May, guest speaker Stephen Spaulding gave us many examples in which voters were disenfranchised because of restrictive voter requirements or illegal activities such as Robo-calling. Voter ID rules in other states can be cumbersome and intimidating. Are there any Voter ID issues in West Virginia, or instances of voter fraud? How can we combat misinformation that could discourage citizens from going to the polls? How can our League work to promote voter turnout in the upcoming elections?

Natalie Tennant will address these issues at our membership meeting on September 19th. As always, we encourage others to join the League. We have a new introductory membership fee just for this fall – individual $22, household $33 – good for one year. This is a great time to join the League – we will be holding two candidate forums in October, and are looking forward to several interesting discussion meetings for members in November and December.

Candidate Forums! – October 17 and 24

We will have two Candidate Forums in October. On October 17, all area candidates for House of Delegates (51st and 49th Districts) and WV Senate will be invited. On October 24, candidates for Assessor and for County Commission will participate. Both forums will be held at Suncrest United Methodist Church, 479 Van Voorhis Road, 7-9 p.m. – Catherine Lozier, Voters Service Chair

Natural Resources Report

On July 3, 2012, City Council unanimously approved zoning laws to regulate extractive industries within city limits.  Many of our recommendations made it into the zoning language to the credit of Natural Resource committee members who diligently worked on crafting them.  However, the zoning laws cannot regulate research purposes on WVU properties.   During the Legislative July Interim, the Dominion Post reported that “WVU wants to work with an operator to drill a horizontal well on WVU land. It would be a working well, generating money for the operator. But it would also be a research well, with every bit of data from the first turn of dirt through drilling and production and on being shared to advance knowledge in the field.”  Collaborating information can be found in the 2012 July Legislative Interim Report discussing the WVU Marcellus Shale Research Center also known as H.B. 4511. General Counsel of WVU, Bill Hutchens, points out that the only thing preventing a gas well was that “Investors for the project had to fold their support after gas prices fell.”   Hutchens, the drafter of H.B. 4511 was recorded in the Dominion Post describing this well as the “Dream Project”.  We will have to watch developments carefully because the decimating effects of a working well pad on what little remains of green space in Morgantown would be significant and tragic.

September 6:  State Energy Plan Hearings – This is a public hearing where you may comment on the state’s 5-year energy plan.  You may comment online, too:  See the Natural Resources category at

Water and Wellness Conference

A half-day conference on “Wellness and Water: Health Impacts of Fossil Fuel Extraction” will be held this Saturday, Sept. 8 at the First Presbyterian Church, Spruce Street.  The keynote speaker is chemist Wilma Subra, who appeared in the film “Gasland.”  The morning includes workshops and panels with gas drilling/fracking and MTRimpacted residents. Experts include Dr. Ben Stout, who was in “The Last Mountain” and “Burning the Future,” and Dr. Michael Hendryx, whose research focuses on the extreme human health impacts of mountaintop removal coal mining.

Registration begins at 8 a.m., with the keynote at 9 a.m. Closing reception is 1 p.m. A $10 donation is suggested.     Info: Robin Blakeman at or 304-522-0246. The conference is sponsored by OVEC, the W.Va. Chapter of the Sierra Club and the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy.

The League in the News

Local League member Linda Yoder was a delegate to the LWV National Convention. She reported on her experiences in the LWVWV Voter.

Our League was highlighted in a front-page article in the Dominion Post on Sunday, September 2.

Also in this newsletter edition, Report on the Annual Meeting, Program 2012-2013.


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LWV Newsletter September 2012