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WEST VIRGINIA GROUPS FRUSTRATED BY SENATOR MANCHIN DELAYING ACTION ON CLIMATE

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

July 15th, 2022

Contact: Gary Zuckett, WV Citizen Action garyz@wvcag.org, 304-437-3701

Morgan King, WV Rivers Coalition: mking@wvrivers.org,304-590-0014

 

WEST VIRGINIA GROUPS FRUSTRATED BY SENATOR MANCHIN DELAYING ACTION ON CLIMATE

Climate Alliance representing dozens of regional groups underscores the urgency of the climate crisis; rally at Manchin office planned for Monday

 

Charleston, W.Va.– Senator Joe Manchin announced today that he wants to delay a  plan to use the money that wealthy corporations owe to pay for desperately needed projects to help our climate and workers. 

 

In response, the West Virginia Climate Alliance submitted a letter to Senator Manchin (letter here). When the letter was sent, the Alliance requested an in person meeting with Senator Manchin, noting they had not been able to meet with the Senator in over a year to discuss grassroots concerns about climate impacts in the state.

“Every day that we delay taking action on the climate crisis makes our weather more extreme and the implementation of solutions even more challenging. The country, and indeed the planet, need Senator Manchin to negotiate in good faith on a bill addressing the climate crisis with the goal of keeping global warming below an increase of 1.5 degrees Celsius. Passage of this bill should not be contingent on a one month inflation report,” said Perry Bryant, founder of the WV Climate Alliance.

Manchin’s move comes just one day after more than 100 homes, roads and bridges in McDowell County, WV were damaged from climate-related flooding. 

The Rev. Jeffrey Allen, executive director of the West Virginia Council of Churches, stated, “Climate change is a crisis of today. It’s flooding in West Virginia and Virginia; fires in the West; and drought here and abroad. There is an enormous cost that we already bear due to our lack of action and it’s a cost being borne by our neighbors. Passing climate change legislation is as local as it gets. This legislation is not only for our neighbors, but for all of those people who we care deeply about. For their sake, we cannot afford to delay any longer.”

As the letter to Senator Manchin notes: “The late Senator Byrd said many times that filibustering the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was his biggest regret; the decision troubled him for the rest of his life. We encourage you to deeply consider the broad implications of continued delays to act to mitigate the worst impacts of climate change, for your own children and grandchildren, and for all the children and grandchildren in our beautiful mountain state and across the world.”

Karan May, Sr. Campaign Representative for theSierra Club said, “Folks in Appalachia are among the hardest hit by the effects of climate change. West Virginians are paying the price for poor health outcomes from pollution; here and in Kentucky and Southwest Virginia, year after year, we are paying the enormous price for catastrophic flooding. Senator Manchin has the opportunity to facilitate meaningful change for his constituents and, yet, is choosing to walk away from legislation that could help alleviate this suffering.

We will continue to fight for policy that will address the climate crisis, while also putting money back into our communities with investments in clean energy and sustainable economic development.”

Linda Frame, President of the WV Environmental Council, said “After a year of good-faith discussions with Senator Manchin and his team it’s hard not to be deflated by this latest delay. We continue to urge Senator Manchin to seize this opportunity to do the right thing for our state, our country, and our planet because the alternative is unthinkable.” 

“The overall cost of building climate change resilient infrastructure, as well as the transition to a clean energy economy, can be paid for now,” said Eve Marcum-Atkinson, Comms. Coord. fFor WV Citizen Action Group. “Tax minimums for millionaires and the elimination of zero-tax-paying loopholes for corporations are how we do this. They have financially benefited from our people’s labor, our nation’s infrastructure, and our economy. We need them to pay their fair share to help us all, as we continue to struggle with the effects of rising prices, increases in dangerous storms, record temperatures, drought, flooding, and more. We need Senator Manchin to fully embrace this now, as climate change is a now issue, a global issue. It’s not going away.”

“No matter our race or income, we want to live and raise our families in healthy and safe communities. Done right, the reconciliation bill is an opportunity to create bridges across our differences rather than making them deeper. Appalachia has been hit hard both by climate change impacts and global energy shifts – with Black and brown communities seeing disproportionate impacts. At the same time, we have an incredible opportunity to mitigate the climate crisis by investing in the communities hardest hit. Appalachian communities need action from Congress, this delay on key climate provisions not only hurts communities struggling with flooding and job loss due to the downturn of the coal industry, it pushes back other urgent actions we need to see from Congress,” said Dana Kuhnline, Campaign Manager for ReImagine Appalachia. 

“Promoting good energy legislation is part of Senator Manchin’s role as chair of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. We call on him to not further delay action on the issues he proclaims to champion. It’s past time to listen to the science that shows a transformational clean energy transition will mitigate climate change while saving lives and creating new jobs,” said Morgan King, climate campaign coordinator of WV Rivers Coalition.

PRESS ARE INVITED TO A MONDAY RALLY AT SEN. MANCHIN’S CHARLESTON OFFICE:

WV Citizen Action and other groups are calling on everyone who is concerned about passing robust Climate Change policy, and paying for it by making millionaires and tax-dodging corporations pay what they owe, to show up at Sen Manchin’s office at 900 Pennsylvania Ave., Charleston, WV 25302, at 5PM on Monday July 18th. If you can’t make it, call his office at  304-342-5855 and tell him to quit stalling on Climate and Taxes! For more info contact info@wvcag.org  Gary Zuckett @ 304-437-3701 or check out events on https://www.facebook.com/WVCAG 

 

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FOUNDED in 2020, the WEST VIRGINIA CLIMATE ALLIANCE is a broad-based coalition of almost 20 environmental organizations, faith-based, civil rights and civic organizations, and other groups with a focus on climate change. Members of the Alliance work together to provide science-based education on climate change to West Virginia citizens and policymakers. 

FOR MORE ON THE CLIMATE ALLIANCE, VISIT: WVClimateAlliance.org

League of Women Voters of West Virginia Launches Campaign to Pass S1

CHARLESTON, WV – With the Senate set to vote on the For the People Act (S1) in late June, this week the League of Women Voters of West Virginia launched a campaign to promote the bill’s passage. On Sunday, June 20th, the League placed full-page ads in the Charleston Gazette-Mail and the Huntington-Herald Dispatch, alongside digital ads on the publications’ respective homepages, urging West Virginia senators to vote for the For the People Act.

“It is clear that the pro-voter policies put forward by S1 are supported by the majority of West Virginians,” said Effie Kallas, co-President of the League of Women Voters of West Virginia. “We are hopeful that this campaign will inspire people to reach out to Senators Manchin and Capito to demand that they vote ‘yes’ on this essential bill.”

The For the People Act passed in the U.S. House on March 3, 2021, and now awaits a Senate vote. The bill, which aims to make the promise of democracy real for all Americans by securing the right to vote, increasing government transparency and accountability, and eliminating dark money from elections, is widely supported by the American public.

In West Virginia, it has a bipartisan approval rating of 79 percent.

The U.S. Senate is expected to vote on the bill within the next week.

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CONTACT: Lilly McGee | 202-263-1329| lmcgee@lwv.org

Press Release: League Urges Replication of the 2020 Primary Election Voting and Absentee Ballot Request Options

For Immediate Release: July 29, 2020

Contacts: Eli Baumwell, Policy Director, ACLU of WV, ebaumwell@acluwv.org

WV Groups, Community Leaders Call on Governor, Secretary of State and County Clerks to Replicate Primary Election Voting and Absentee Ballot Request Options

Absentee Ballot Applications Should Be Mailed to All Registered Voters

 

(Charleston, WV) – With less than 100 days before the General Election, a coalition of voting rights advocates and community leaders representing poor and impacted communities across West Virginia is calling on Governor Jim Justice and state and local election officials to provide further clarity to the state’s voters regarding their plans to ensure a safe, accessible, and secure election and to mailing absentee ballot applications to those voters as was done in the primary election.

In a letter to the Governor, Secretary of State Mac Warner, and Linda Higgins, the head of the WV Association of County Clerks, the groups said, “Giving all West Virginia voters the option to safely vote by absentee ballot in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is just and right,” but cited the mailing of applications to all registered voters as “crucial to enabling voters to take advantage of this option in the primary, with half of voters choosing to cast their ballots safely from home.”

The Secretary of State’s office confirmed Monday that voters will be able to cite COVID-19 as a medical excuse to vote absentee in the upcoming election. In a press release, Secretary Warner said, “West Virginia voters should never have to choose between their health and their right to vote. Let me be very clear. Any voter concerned about their health and safety because of COVID-19 will have the option to vote by absentee ballot.”

“Ensuring all voters can utilize the absentee process is a common-sense step,” said Eli Baumwell, Policy Director for the ACLU of WV. “Now we call on our elected officials to keep the same process they had during the primary by mailing absentee ballots. This will reduce confusion and encourage voter participation.”

Jean Evansmore, a Coordinating Committee Member with the WV Poor People’s Campaign, expressed anger saying, “We now have more COVID-19 cases and the Governor and Secretary of State are proposing they do less? Why would we accept that? It is voter suppression under the guise of voting ‘opportunities’.”

“We are continuing our efforts to get it done the way it was done in the primary,” Evansmore said. Those efforts include a letter writing campaign targeting the Governor and Secretary of State.

The letter from the groups acknowledged that voters will have an online option for requesting absentee ballots for the November election, but expressed concern that it would not help many older West Virginians or those without internet access.

Jonathan Rosenbaum, President of the League of Women Voters of WV said, “As an experienced software developer, one of the downsides of a new online portal put together on such short order is that it may have some unresolved bugs, some that may cause worse delivery issues, than the so called ‘issues related to the U.S. Mail service’ the Secretary of State’s office highlighted in their after action report.”

Rosenbaum said election officials needed to make the extra effort to inform voters that lacked computers, technical skills, the internet or transportation of alternatives for requesting a ballot.

“However, that takes us back to the obvious solution, which is to mail everyone absentee ballot applications,” he said.

The groups also criticized Governor Justice’s attacks on absentee voting, saying they “are a direct assault on voting rights.”

“We know that absentee voting increases participation and ensures that more Americans – including members of our military – have their voices heard. We also know that states with long established vote-by-mail programs run them smoothly and expand voter engagement in their states,” said Julie Archer, Coordinator for WV Citizens for Clean Elections. “We cannot allow the right to safely vote become a polarizing issue. We can protect West Virginia voters and protect the vote during this pandemic. And we must.”

Environmental justice organizations and organized labor joined the groups in their call to replicate the voting and absentee ballot request options that were used in the primary.

 

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Online event – Learn about DistrictBuilder – July 26 @ 12pm

DistrictBuilder is web-based, open source software for collaborative redistricting.

Related links and web conference info:

https://www.azavea.com/blog/2017/07/31/districtbuilder-road-ahead-redistricting/

https://map.drawthelinespa.org/

Azavea – DistrictBuilder Demo Fri Jul 26, 2019 12pm – 1pm Joining info: meet.google.com/ewh-bvmf-cps
Or dial +1 413-729-2090 PIN: 175696528#

WV Rivers and League of Women Voters of WV Team Up for Clean Water

On a spring Saturday, a gift sprung and was given to WV Rivers. The League of Women Voters of West Virginia (LWVWV) presented WV Rivers with an $800 check for our Science Fund to help support our water policy research.  WV Rivers’ Executive Director Angie Rosser spoke at LWVWV’s biennial convention in Morgantown about current water policy issues. LWVWV live-streamed the event, you can watch it here.

Members of the LWVWV board present WV Rivers with Science Fund donation at their biennial statewide convention.

“We are deeply grateful to partners like the League of Women Voters of WV who lift us up,” said Angie Rosser. “They stay informed, they get the word out, they raise money to make clean water advocacy possible in West Virginia. I’m totally inspired by the way they put their values in action.”

Angie Rosser and LWVWV Natural Resources Chair Helen Gibbins teaming up at the State Capitol.

LWVWV’s Natural Resources Chair, Helen Gibbins, has been a long-time member of WV Rivers’ Water Policy Workgroup. The workgroup meets monthly to coordinate research and analysis of West Virginia’s most pressing water policy issues.

When WV Rivers has a call to action, Helen is the key conduit for getting things done.

“Helen is a force of nature for preserving our natural resources here in West Virginia,” shared Angie. “She identifies the important questions, creative strategies, and mobilization opportunities to elevate clean water policies at all levels.”

The generous financial gift from LWVWV comes at a critical time. WV Rivers is in the middle of a fundraising drive to raise $25,000 to respond with an urgently needed in-depth study of our human health protections in our water quality standards – the rules that limit the amount of toxins allowed in our drinking water supplies. LWVWV’s donation helped us get closer to our goal, but we still have $10,000 left to go. Please join supporters, like LWVWV, in making your donation today. Together, we can do this!

To learn more about LWVWV’s work, go to: lwvwv.org

To learn more about WV Rivers’ Science Fund drive, go here.

 
Submitted by WV Rivers

Legislative Priorities – 2019

The League of Women Voters of West Virginia has adopted the following issues as its legislative priorities for the 2019 session of the West Virginia Legislature. We hope you will support measures that advance these goals

LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES FOR 2019

The League of Women Voters of West Virginia:

  • Supports maintaining West Virginia’s water standards to reflect EPA recommended human health criteria.
  • Supports strengthening disclosure requirements for the sources of political campaign expenditures, including dark money.
  • Supports establishment of an independent commission to draw up redistricting plans for representatives to the US House of Representatives and the WV Legislature.
  • Supports measures that encourage investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency in West Virginia’s homes, businesses, and industries.
  • Supports maintaining expanded Medicaid coverage for the hundreds of thousands of West Virginians who rely on it for health care.

In keeping with its goal of encouraging participation by citizens in their government, the League will continue to monitor election laws and oppose measures which limit access to voting.

Our members will be following action on these and other issues during the 2019 session. We appreciate your willingness to undertake public service and work toward our shared goal of creating a better West Virginia for all of its citizens.

Sincerely,

Jonathan Rosenbaum, President
LWVWV

LWV of West Virginia urges voters to vote NO on Amendment 1

PRESS RELEASE

The League of Women Voters of West Virginia urges voters to say NO to Constitutional Amendment 1 on November 6.

If passed Amendment 1 would add the following language to the WV Constitution: “Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of abortion.”

Amendment 1 eliminates a woman’s right to privacy when making reproductive choices. The LWV believes a decision to terminate a pregnancy should be a private decision done in consultation between a woman and her doctor. The WV State constitution should protect this right of privacy.

Amendment 1 provides no exceptions in the case of rape, incest or when the mother’s life is in danger. The amendment denies the right of women to terminate any pregnancy under any circumstances.

This amendment also denies poor women access to government funds for abortions, including instances of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother.

The full weight of Amendment 1 will be realized if federal safeguards (provided by Roe v Wade) protecting a women’s right to privacy when making decisions regarding abortion are removed. Laws approved in years past by the state legislature made abortion a felony. Court injunctions prevented their implementation but if Roe vs. Wade is overturned, they could easily resurface. If Roe is overturned, the passage of Amendment 1 would mean the state constitution would provide no protection for West Virginia women. Desperate women attempting to terminate their own pregnancies because medically safe procedures are unavailable would be subject to criminal prosecution. So would any medical personnel who assist in abortion procedures.

The League of Women Voters believes public policy must affirm the constitutional right of privacy of the individual to make reproductive choices. We urge voters to vote No on Amendment 1. 

***END***

For further information contact
Lyn Widmyer
lynwidmyer@gmail.com

304-279-3201

League Urges Senators to vote NO on Kavanaugh

JUDGE DOES NOT POSSESS FAIR AND UNBIASED JUDICIAL TEMPERAMENT
10/4/2018
Washington, DC – The League of Women Voters President Chris Carson and CEO Virginia Kase issued the following joint statement:

“We urge the Senate to reject Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination.

“Judge Kavanaugh has shown the country that he does not possess fair and unbiased judicial temperament. Indeed, he engaged in unprovoked, partisan attacks, and treated United States Senators—the people conducting his job interview—with shocking disrespect. Senators have the right to ask questions of nominees. In fact, it is their responsibly to ask them on behalf of the American people.

“In addition, troubling allegations about his past and misleading if not untruthful testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee cast further doubt on his judicial credibility. Alexander Hamilton wrote in The Federalist Papers that “all judges who may be appointed by the United States are to hold their offices during good behavior.” That’s not what we saw from Judge Kavanaugh during the confirmation process.

“We urge Senators to vote NO on Kavanaugh.”

Contact: Sarah Courtney | 202-263-1332 | scourtney@lwv.org

Legislative Priorities – 2018

The League of Women Voters of West Virginia has adopted the following issues as its legislative priorities for the 2018 session of the West Virginia Legislature. We hope you will support measures that advance these goals.

LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES FOR 2018

The League of Women Voters of West Virginia:

  • Supports maintaining West Virginia’s water quality standards to protect this valuable resource.
  • Supports strengthening disclosure requirements for the sources of political campaign expenditures, including independent expenditures and election-related communications.
  • Supports establishment of an independent commission to draw up redistricting plans for representatives to the US House of Representatives and the WV Legislature.
  • Supports measures that encourage investment in energy efficiency in West Virginia’s homes, businesses, and industries such as the LEEP program.
  • Supports maintaining expanded Medicaid coverage for the hundreds of thousands of West Virginians who rely on it for health care.

In keeping with its goal of encouraging participation by citizens in their government, the League will continue to monitor election laws and oppose measures which limit access to voting.

Our members will be following action on these and other issues during the 2018 session. We appreciate your willingness to undertake public service and work toward our shared goal of creating a better West Virginia for all of its citizens.

Sincerely,

Jonathan Rosenbaum, President
LWVWV

EPA Funding Letter to Senators Capitol and Manchin

The LWV-WV and other organizations sent the following letter urging our Senators to support the continuation of the 2017 appropriations for key EPA programs that help West Virginia’s rivers and streams.

October 16, 2017

The Honorable Joe Manchin III                                   The Honorable Shelley Moore Capito
306 Hart Senate Office Building                                  172 Russell Senate Office Building           
Washington DC 20510                                                   Washington DC 20510                    

Dear Senators Manchin and Capito,

West Virginia Rivers Coalition and the undersigned West Virginia organizations, are concerned about the federal appropriations that designate the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s allocations for state programs that manage the protection of water quality. We urge you to support the continuation of the 2017 appropriations for key programs that help West Virginia’s rivers and streams.

The U.S. House of Representatives appropriation for the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies bill reduced funding for EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program. The Bay Program is significant in its six-state cooperative effort that affects 180,000 miles of streams and rivers and 18 million people. We are pleased that West Virginia, which comprises the headwaters of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, is part of that effort. We are also cognizant of the benefits of water clean-up programs in West Virginia supported by Bay Program funds. We believe the reduction of support for the Bay Program in the House appropriations bill will be detrimental to West Virginians in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. We request that you maintain the 2017 funding level of $73 million in the 2018 appropriations, and support last year’s requirement that $6 million of this allocation go for Small Watershed Grants and $6 million for Nutrient and Sediment Reduction Grants. These grant programs alone have brought in approximately $5 million since 2010 for projects in West Virginia.

We also are concerned about policy “riders” added to the bill in the House. Restricting efforts to clean up our waters is not a benefit for our citizens and may cause costly future clean ups for the public to bear.  Here are a few examples that stand to place West Virginia’s waters at risk:

  • Prohibiting EPA from enforcing the Chesapeake Bay TMDL on states that are not implementing their own clean-up plans. This would shift pollution reduction responsibilities from states like PA to headwater states, such as WV.
  • Prohibiting EPA from ensuring mining companies are financially capable of cleaning up pollution that operations cause to the land and water.
  • Prohibiting the use of funds to issue any regulation under the Solid Waste Disposal Act that applies to an animal feeding operation.
  • Prohibiting the use of funds to require permits for the discharge of dredged or fill material for certain agricultural activities.
  • Authorizing the withdrawal of the Waters of the United States Rule without regard to any provision of statute or regulation that establishes a requirement for such withdrawal.

Thank you for considering these concerns. Please fully fund essential EPA programs and reject riders that put the future quality of our water supplies at risk.

Angie Rosser, Executive Director
West Virginia Rivers Coalition

George Santucci, Executive Director
New River Conservancy

Cynthia Ellis, President
West Virginia Highlands Conservancy

Charles Marsh, President
Sleepy Creek Watershed Association

Gary Zuckett, Executive Director
West Virginia Citizen Action Group

Sherry Evasic, President
Blue Heron Environmental Network

Julie Archer, Co-founder
West Virginia Surface Owners Rights Organization

Natalie Thompson, Executive Director
Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition

Judy Rodd, Executive Director
Friends of Blackwater

John Bird, Conservation Chair
West Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club

Brent Walls
Upper Potomac Waterkeeper

Jonathan Rosenbaum, President
League of Women Voters of West Virginia

 Senate EPA Funding Letter 10.16.17