Its Baaack! The 2008 session kicked off this week with the
governor’s State of the State speech to a packed House gallery
Wednesday evening.The real struggle began days before when
lawmakers rolled into town for the last Interim session onSunday. Bills that emerge from Interims get first in line forintroduction during the session.
The Tier 2.5 list actually emerged with the number of
protected streams increased. In a surprise move, Del. MikeBurdiss (D-Wyoming), a former UMWA lobbyist, proposed
jumped up holding out a large map showing all the 2,000+streams in the state. Entreating his fellow lawmakers, hestated, “We have a fiduciary responsibility for clean water forour state. It’s time to stand up!” Delegate Talbott (D-Webster)supported the amendment saying, “Water is WV’s most
important asset, more than timber, more than coal…” (see
We need more spunky lawmakers with the courage to
stand up for citizens’ interests against corporate lobbyists whowant to strip any protections from our environment, civil
justice & insurance systems, or anything else that gets in the
way of their bosses’ increased profits!
This is now the second session with the new House
leadership.We are all hopeful they have now settled into their
positions and are ready to pass several progressive bills that
have been stalled for years, such as the aforementioned Clean
Stream List, Clean Elections legislation and the Bottle Bill.
We’d also like to see serious consideration of the new Surface
Owners’ Bill of Rights. It is like a breath of fresh air on the
House side as the previous iron rule has been lifted and a
more open dialogue is taking place. Let’s now see some
In his speech, Governor Manchin mentioned “Energy” 19
(continued on page 6 ~ see “It’s Baaack!”)
Your legislators are in town and they need to hear from
you. Remember, phone calls and snail mail letters have the
greatest impact. Feel free to call us at any time if you wanthelp with what to say.
Don’t know who your legislators are? Just go to
www.wvcag.org and scroll down. look for a box on the
left -hand margin where you can type in your zip code and
get their names. Or visit www.congress.org.
Thanks for your help in making sure that legisla-
tors hear fromWestVirginia’s citizens, not just
Charleston, WV 25305Call toll-free: 1-877-565-3447
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On the session’s first day, the WV Beverage Container and Litter Control Act
(AKA Bottle Bill) was introduced in both the House (HB 2773) and Senate (SB135). The bill’s first stop is to the Judiciary Committee in each house.
In February, a representative from the recycling industry in California will be
visiting West Virginia and Tennessee to help promote our bottle bill campaigns.
He will meet with legislators and the media. We’ll keep you posted on eventssurrounding this visit and how you can join us. In the meantime, check outwww.wvbottlebill.org and stay in touch!
Here’s a brief article on what’s going on in California:More Californians Cashing In on Recyclables by Tom Abdolla,The Los
Californians recycled more than 6.9 billion beverage containers in the first
half of 2007, up nearly 800 million from the same period a year ago, the state’slargest recycling-rate increase in the last 15 years, according to a recent studyreleased by the state’s Department of Conservation. And officials think theyknow why. In January, the state increased the California Refund Value to a nickelfor small beverage containers and a dime for large ones.The respective one- andtwo-cent hikes, they believe, may have changed a lot of perceptions. “If you seefour pennies on the ground and you’re walking on the street, are you going tobother to pick them up?’ asked Mark Murray, executive director for CaliforniansAgainst Waste, a statewide environmental organization that focuses on recycling.
“Whereas you see a nickel or dime on the ground, you’re likely to pick that up.
The same thing goes to just seeing that value in a can and thinking, I’m tossing anickel in the trash.’ Officials can’t know for sure why recycling has increased —no one asks why people recycle or when they started — but a view from theground lends credibility to the notion that nickel-and-diming consumers hasworked. Seven in 10 deposit containers are now redeemed, according to thestudy.”
Have you taken Protonix? If so, you may be eligible to join a national class
action lawsuit which claims that the companies that make and market Protonixlied to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to get a patent on the drug andbrought frivolous lawsuits against generic drug manufacturers to prevent lessexpensive generic versions of Protonix from being sold. If you took or paid forProtonix anytime between April 19, 2006 and now, you may be eligible to jointhis important lawsuit. To find out more, call us at 304-346-5891 or 1-866-WVB-FAIR.
As many of you know, in August of last year WV-CAG helped form a new
organization, the WV Surface Owners’ Rights Organization (WV-SORO), whichis dedicated to protecting and expanding the rights of surface owners when oil &gas companies explore and drill on their property. The organization has grown byleaps and bounds since its inception 6 months ago and we can now count amongour ranks members from 50 WV counties, 19 states and two countries. We arepleased to report on WV-SORO’s legislative efforts thus far and hope to accom-plish more over the next 60-days. What follows is an update on one of thehighlights of legislative interims sessions and a glimpse of what’s to come.
Oil & Gas Drilling in State ForestsIn response to oil & gas industry abuses in Kanawha State Forest, the Depart-
ment of Natural Resources proposed a rule that would provide earlier notice tostate forest officials and the public about drilling and maintenance activities in ourforests. The rule, which was before the Legislative Rule-Making Review Com-mittee, was met with strong opposition from the industry and pulled from thecommittee’s agenda in both November and December. The committee mandateda series of meetings between state forest users and industry to negotiate a com-promise. WV-SORO co-founder and attorney Dave McMahon representedforest users in these negotiations. While we did not get everything we wanted therule goes a long way toward providing additional protections for our state forests.
The rule was taken up and passed by the committee earlier this week and nowgoes before the full legislature.
Surface Owners’ Bill of RightsIn December, WV-SORO began recruiting co-sponsors and talking with
legislators about a Surface Owners’ Bill of Rights.WV-SORO identified severalchanges that are needed to level the playing field between operators and surfaceowners and ensure good stewardship of the land and economic fairness in thestate’s oil and gas fields.These changes include:
• Earlier notice that the driller is coming, including requiring notice before
the driller comes on the property to survey well site, access road or pipelinelocations.
• Requiring a face-to-face meeting between the drill and the landowner
before the permit application is filed.
• Allowing for a pre-permit negotiating period to give the surface owner
input in planning and executing well site(s) and access roads.
• Ensuring fair and equitable compensation by requiring the driller to post an
individual well bond if no pre-drilling agreement is reached between the drillerand the surface owner.
• Requiring the driller to offer the surface owner residential gas service, at
cost, from the wells or gathering lines on their property.
Here at theWV SORO office, we are not going to just focus on the Legislative
Session now that it has just begun. We are planning to push ahead with more townhall meetings to further the knowledge and support that we can offer our fellowland owners. This session is an important step for all of us, as we need to worktogether with our legislators, to establish our “Surface Owner’s Bill of Rights”. Ina way this is a chance for all of us to be a forefather of West Virginia’s propertyrights. Due to the great response that we have had in the early going of ourorganization’s life span, I expect that we are going to be able to put a lot ofpressure on the oil and gas industry and our legislators to do the right thing.
Town Hall MeetingsThe first town hall meeting that we put together in Weston was a great success
as over 100 people braved pouring rain and cold, flooding waters to meet onThursday, December 13th. We received valuable input from SORO members and Iwould especially like to thank Kent Burnside for his hard work and dedication tobeing “our man on the spot” for the meeting. We would also like to thank all ofthe dedicated people who showed up and helped energize us on a night that wewere afraid the bad weather would scare away more of you.
At this moment two more town hall meetings are being planned before our
WV SORO Day on February 6th. These are still being worked out, but they willmost likely be held in Chapmanville on Saturday January 26th and in Spencer on aweek day, the week after. If anyone has suggestions about location, times, or days,please contact us at our office in Charleston. We also welcome any and everyoneto come on down and meet their legislators any time during the session. I wouldjust recommend calling so that we might be able to work better with everyone.
WV-SORO DayWV SORO day will be held on February 6th at the state capitol. So far we have
managed to reserve the Governor’s Conference Room from 8am to 11am thatmorning. This is an ideal spot to meet in the morning and will serve well as theroom for our press conference at 10am. The rest of the day will be a chance forSORO members to go and speak with their various legislators. The lobby teamwill be available to direct and guide visitors to the right places. Please contact us ifyou want to help out with this great event. This day will be a great opportunity forWV landowners to come down and show our support for the Surface Owner’sBill of Rights.
The Surface Owner’s Bill of Rights is currently going through the process of
gathering up sponsors in both houses. It is a plan to better equalize the playingfield between surface owners and the oil and gas industry. So if you are interestedin getting your Legislators more involved, now is the time to contact them and askthem to sign onto the bill.
We would like to invite anyone interested to contact us at the WV Citizen
Action Group office at (304) 346-5891 (ask for Julie or Norm) or via the websiteat www.wvsoro.org.
(“It’s Baaack” - continued from front page)
times (http://www.wvgazette.com/section/News/200801091) but only used
the phrase “climate change” once - in the same sentence as the oxymoron “cleancoal.” The WV Environmental Council released a “Citizens’’ Energy Plan” in responseat a Thursday press conference. It is a wealth of sensible suggestions for a newdirection for WV. Read it here: www.wvecouncil.org .
Meanwhile, the governor’s pro-recycling ads saturate TV and radio these days. He
continues to ignore the economic incentives of a bottle bill - placing a 10 centdeposit on all single–use beverage containers - to clean up our highways quickly andprovide hundreds of new jobs in redemption centers. Even the Farm Bureau likesthis idea. It’s time for Governor Manchin to take the lead on this common senseproposal. Joe, you can even say it was your idea!
While our legislature makes laws, our nation continues to make war.The cost of
war is the “elephant in the living room” that our policy makers ignore while it silentlysteals funding from all our domestic needs such as schools, libraries, police & fireprotection etc. to the tune of a $1.2 billion cost for WV through 2007(www.nationalpriorities.org). One of our efforts this session is to introduce aresolution calling for an end to the Iraq occupation as quickly as possible.
Here at the office we’re optimistic about the potential for positive, progressive
changes in WV and the nation in 2008. It won’t be easy – there’s a lot of hard work tobe done and no guarantees that we’ll be any better off this time next year. But withyour support and assistance we’ll give it our best shot and see what comes about.
by CarolWarren,West Virginia Citizens For Clean Elections
The coalition partners of West Virginia Citizens for Clean Elections are ready to
roll with our Public Campaign Financing Act again during the 2008 session.We havespoken with almost all our Senate and House sponsors of last year’s bill and arefinding them very willing to sponsor again. Lead sponsors are Senator Jeff Kesslerand Delegate John Doyle.
This year, we will be focusing our attention on the House, hoping to move the bill
there after a couple of frustrating sessions in Senate Finance Committee. Coalitionmembers will be doing everything we can to educate more Delegates and Senatorsabout the bill, and the advantages it offers to both citizens and candidates. And wevery much need you to contact your representatives and let them know you supportpublic financing for West Virginia campaigns!
Be sure to check out our website, where a new Clean Elections brochure, an
updated fact sheet “Support Fair and Clean Elections,” and blank copies of ourpetition are available, http://www.wvoter-owned.org.Weekly updates during thelegislative session will be posted on the website as well.
Just in time for the Legislative Session! Join us onTuesday, January 15
for Citizen LobbyistTraining, 6-8 pm, Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 520Kanawha Blvd.West, Charleston. (Corner of Kanawha BlvdW. and Vine St.). BethWhite, Executive Director of WV Association for Justice will lead training “Lobbying101.” Break-out sessions for issue education and message framing will follow, andthen…PIZZA!! For more info call 304-342-9188 or e-mail email@example.com.
Sponsored by WV FREE, National Association of Social Workers WV Chapter,West Virginians United for Social and Economic Justice,WV Women Work,WVCitizen Action Group and the ACLU of WV.
Even if you can’t make this special training session, we need your help and your
voice to talk to legislators, attend committee meetings and participate in publichearings. CAG Lobby Team Members are at the Capitol every day during the session.
If you’d like to join us, please let us know by calling us at 304-346-5891 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Want to help out behind the scenes? We are alwayslooking for volunteers to help put our newslettertogether on Fridays. call Marge or Linda at 346-5891 to find out more!
We Need Your Support!We can’t do it without you !
Please renew your membership or send a donation.
Here’s my donation of __$15 __$25 __$50 __$100 Other $____
Clip and mail with your check to West Virginia Citizen ActionGroup, 1500 Dixie St., Charleston, WV 25311 - THANKS!
Donate safely and securely on-line at www.wvcag.org!!!!
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