League of Women Voters-WV Comments on the Repeal of the Clean Power Plan

The following statement was read at the EPA hearing in Charleston on Nov. 28 in support of the Clean Power Plan and against its repeal:

Repealing the Clean Power Plan puts the interests of corporate polluters ahead of the health and safety of the American public. The EPA’s own analysis shows that the benefits of the Clean Power Plan significantly outweigh the costs, and that its repeal will have a devastating impact on the planet at a time when we are seeing and experiencing the powerful effects of climate change in the form of rising temperatures, deadly hurricanes and floods, extreme droughts, and destructive wildfires. The League is appalled at this irresponsible decision that will have a long-term devastating impact on our planet and health of the American people.

LWV-WV members Barbara Brown and Vicki Conner of Morgantown show their support for the Clean Power Plan at the Sierra Club's Hearing for Healthy Communities.

Instead of repealing the Clean Power Plan, the EPA must strengthen the targets it currently sets, expand its scope to strengthen advancement toward clearer fuels and new technologies, and empower it to make energy companies and their investors pay for a comprehensive and just transition that reinvests in communities like those in West Virginia and Appalachia that have historically relied on fossil-fuel based industries, and in the working class communities and communities of color here and across the country that have been disproportionately affected by the impacts of fossil fuel pollution and climate change.

Additionally, because the repeal of the Clean Power Plan will have deep impacts in these communities, the EPA must commit to holding further hearings in affected communities beyond West Virginia. To only hold hearings on the repeal of a policy that has national impacts in one state, and not in others, is undemocratic, unconscionable and unfair.

The continued emission of carbon pollution and other greenhouse gases threaten the lives, health, and well-being of Americans and people worldwide. The effects of climate change are real and serious, and by repealing the Clean Power Plan and failing to take action to reduce these emissions we do so at our own peril.

We are already seeing and feeling the effects of our warming planet when we experience more severe weather like this year’s deadly hurricanes and devastating wildfires, and other extreme weather events closer to home like the 2012 derecho and last year’s historic floods. All of these come with costs to human lives; damage and destruction of property and infrastructure, and higher costs to governments, taxpayers, and those who respond to these disasters and work to repair the damages.

A warming climate also poses numerous risks for public health. Extreme heat can be a killer. Higher temperatures contribute to poor air quality including smog, a contributor to respiratory problems, as well as increased production and wider dispersion of allergens. Diseases may be spread more readily from an increased number of insects that would have been killed in colder winters, and more outbreaks of waterborne diseases such as cholera are expected. Those most vulnerable to climate related health effects — children, the elderly, the poor, and future generations — face disproportionate risks. Repeal of the Clean Power Plan ignores these risks and the major health benefits of reducing carbon and other other emissions that can harm human health.

The CPP would be one of the United States’ most effective ways to reduce CO2 and other greenhouse gases, with less disturbance to the economy than some other proposals and with substantial benefits for the health and welfare of the American people. The United States has been known in the past for its innovative approaches to problems. The use of clean and renewable sources of energy has expanded tremendously in the last few years. These sources have the potential to make up a larger share of our electricity production – while reducing emissions and keeping the supply of electric power affordable and reliable. 

By repealing the CPP we are saying that the United States no longer has the capacity to meet these challenges. We will have decided that we can live with 19th and 20th century technology in the 21st century. We will allow China and other countries to take over the role of pioneer in new technology and production of energy. The longer we put off reducing our CO2 and methane from power production, the bigger the problem will become to solve and we will have to take more onerous steps.

We must consider the lives, health, and welfare of future generations, and we must act now. To leave a warming climate and all its consequences to our children and grandchildren is unconscionable. Living for today rather than planning for tomorrow is considered to be frivolous. Do we want historians to label us as immoral and frivolous? If Aesop’s fable about the Grasshoppers and the Ants were applied to us, we would be the Grasshoppers because we were not willing to take steps today to plan for the future and protect our climate.

Decision on FirstEnergy’s Bad Deal for WV Coming Soon – Speak Out Now!

The WV Public Service Commission is considering whether FirstEnergy can transfer a power plant from one subsidiary company to another subsidiary company. The PSC heard from more than 100 people during public hearings and received more than 2,000 written protests.

Now is a critical time and we need your help.

If you are a Mon Power or Potomac Edison customer and have not submitted a letter to the PSC, please go on the record with your opposition to FirstEnergy’s bailout. Below are links to talking points and other resources to help frame your arguments. Need help writing a letter to the PSC? Just reply to this email and we’ll help you out.

Online Resources to Help You Write Your Letter to the PSC:

A decision from the PSC on this Bad Deal for WV is coming soon, and if FirstEnergy gets its way, Mon Power and Potomac Edison customers will be on the hook for the $400 MILLION and pay higher rates.

Letters can be mailed or FAXed to the PSC as follows:

Public Service Commission of West Virginia
Ingrid Ferrell, Executive Secretary
201 Brooks Street
Charleston, WV 25301
FAX: (304) 340-0325

Please reference Case No. 17-0296-E-PC. 

Please take action today. Tell the PSC to say NO to FirstEnergy’s bailout scheme.

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

Want to go solar?

 

Video: WV DEP Secretary Austin Caperton and Environmental Advocate Edward Maguire II – February 27, 2017

Video produced by West TV (footage – Jonathan Rosenbaum) at the February 27, 2017 Public Forum co-hosted by the WVU Sierra Student Coalition and the Mon Group of the WV Sierra Club.

League Opposes Pleasants Power Station Boondoggle

The State Board invites you to support this opposition.  Please sign the petition at http://energyfreedomwv.org/take-action-1-1/,  and/or send your own letter to the PSC.

Statement Opposing Pleasants Power Station Boondoggle

In 2013, the League of Women Voters of West Virginia opposed Mon Power and Potomac Edison’s proposed purchase of 80% of the Harrison power plant.  At that time we sent a clear message to the West Virginia Public Service Commission:

Customers should not be forced to pay for a  purchase that will raise the costs of their electricity. Furthermore the purchase of the Harrison power plant would lock in costs for many generations, so that better alternatives would be precluded. 

Rather than paying for the high costs of the Harrison power plant, Mon Power and Potomac Edison could bid for cheaper power from other sources and install more energy efficiency into its production. Also they could lessen demand by aiding customers in energy efficiency means as many power companies have done. All would result in smaller energy costs to ratepayers.

Once again, we are confronted with a similar  situation, this time involving the purchase of the Pleasants Power Station that is currently operating in a deregulated electricity market where it is struggling to compete against less expensive power sources.  The League firmly opposes this new attempt by FirstEnergy Corp. to offload this plant to our regulated market because of debt the company has acquired due to its own lack of foresight in the transitioning energy markets.

The state of West Virginia is a net exporter of electricity, providing almost 5% of the nation’s total energy, largely because of its coal production.  However, many states receiving our electricity from the grid are phasing out coal generated electricity.   It is time that West Virginia does the same. Even as this statement is being written, a massive iceberg the size of Delaware is very close to breaking free from Antarctica, due to a huge, widening crack in the 10,000 year-old Larsen ice shelf.

The financial costs for West Virginians from climate change will vastly exceed any profits for FirstEnergy Corp. shareholders.  Switching the power station’s financial risks from stockholders to ratepayers will not benefit the people of West Virginia, and in the final analysis they will be the net losers.

Therefore, we ask the Public Service Commission not to approve passing the costs from FirstEnergy’s own boondoggle to the ratepayers of West Virginia

League of Women Voters of West Virginia 

CONTACT:
Jonathan Rosenbaum, Board Member

Nancy Novak, President

Green Jobs and Renewable Energy in West Virginia

Video produced by the League of Women Voters of Morgantown-Monongalia County with help from Mike Ellis of West TV on November 17, 2016.

July 27 – Information Workshop – North Central WV Solar Co-Op

The League supports predominant reliance on renewable resources.  We are co-sponsoring this upcoming event and want to encourage you to attend.  Please remember the Civic Engagement Workshop is the next day on Thursday!:

The North Central West Virginia Solar Co-Op is launching! Check out the first informational meeting to find out how you can get involved and save money on your energy bill! The meeting will be held at the Morgantown Public Library, Wednesday July 27th, 6 pm.

The response to the first Morgantown Solar Co-Op was substantial. Over 100 people signed up for roof reviews and 24 installations were completed. These installations represent 141 kW of new installed solar capacity, which is approximately 7% of the total installed solar capacity in West Virginia.

Also, see,

FB event: https://www.facebook.com/events/275816152776582/

Morgantown Magazine article: http://www.morgantownmag.com/morgantown/June-July-2016/Cooperative-Sun-Harvest/

Source Water Protection Plans for Public Water

doc iconsource water protection plans.4.doc

Watch Sean O’Leary – Words Unhinged From Facts

Synopsis: Sean O’Leary speaks on a topic of current concern to the League: a serious decline of public discourse in West Virginia. “Words Unhinged from Facts: The Silly Things Our Leaders Say That We Believe”, he calls it, and offers many examples. He uses issues such as the fracking boom, the state budget deficit, the “war on coal,” and economic policies to show how leaders in West Virginia regularly make patently false assertions without being challenged or questioned by the media.

Filmed by Nancy Jamison with a tablet at the Morgantown-Monongalia Annual Meeting on May 14, 2014. Video clips were later transferred and then assembled with OpenShot by Jonathan Rosenbaum (720p/5mb or higher bitrate versions available by request).