WV Citizen Action Group
Action Alert
March 21
 Alert Archive


 Remind Congress to Take Care of Their People

Local increases in wages still leave workers below poverty level. National Legislation is pending in Congress right now that would raise the wage to $10.10 an hour. 

CALL YOUR REPRESTATIVE TODAY! The Democrat's bill to increase minimum wage has been stuck in the House for over a year! Republican Speaker John Boehner refuses to even allow a vote on a minimum wage increase.  Democrats are circulating a petition that would require the speaker to ‘discharge’ the bill and hold a vote.  Rep. Rahall has already signed in favor of his constituents. Call Rep. Capito and and Rep. McKinley to show your support for a vote.

 Minimum Wage Call in number: 1-888-851-1916  then they'll ask for your zip code.

The message in simple:  Raising the minimum wage will provide Americans who work hard a better opportunity to get ahead while giving the economy a needed shot in the arm.  Sign the discharge petition on the Fair Minimum Wage Act and put it to a vote on the House floor.

Then join the Minimum Wage bus tour at the Capitol on April 2 at 1pm!

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 Petition WV Representatives to Request Listening Session on Citizen's Behalf

by Maya Nye

January 9th marked United States history with the largest chemical drinking water contamination in West Virginia's capitol city impacting more than 300,000 people or a third of the state.  We need our representatives to work for us and request a Listening Session for the President's Executive Order #13650 on Improving Chemical Safety and Security on our behalf.  

The public comment for the E.O. ends March 31st.  We still need to be pushing for the Listening Session in Charleston until the last day.  As such, Maya Nye has developed two petitions:

  1. Petition 1:  Directly requesting the Department of Homeland Security to initiate a Listening Session in Charleston (this is Round 2 for this petition -- if you signed it before, it's okay to sign again...in fact, we need you to!)
  2. Petition 2:  Asking our Congressional representatives and Governor to request a Listening Session on our behalf


Here’s the FACT SHEET on the Executive Order on Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security

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 Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop
by Gary Zuckett

Most everyone by now has heard of the damage done to our election systems by the unfortunate “Citizens United” vs FEC Supreme Court ruling that allows the Koch Bros and other Million & Billionaires to buy whole states like North Carolina. This year the bull’s-eye is on WV. To make matters worse, the Bush Supreme Court is now considering another case brought by a millionaire named McCutcheon which would further open the floodgates of cash by striking down direct aggregate contribution limits for federal candidates. We’re planning a Rapid Response to this anticipated Supreme Court decision and looking for local folks who can show up on short notice to protest such a move by the court – hopefully the day of the decision.

If you are willing to come out for a 5 PM rally at the capitol under Sen Byrd’s statue in the rotunda, give Brooke a shout at brooke@wvcag.org or call her at 346-5891 and we’ll let you know when to show up. Thanks!

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 Updates on American Water
by Cathy Kunkel

I wanted to point out Ken Ward's article in the Gazette yesterday, which did a great job of highlighting WV American Water's lack of preparedness for this spill:

http://www.wvgazette.com/News/watercrisis/201403190310. He said his company did not try to obtain publicly available chemical inventory forms that Freedom had filed every year with state and local governments. "We did not know what was in those tanks up there," McIntyre said."

Additionally, I notice that a lot of people who filed complaints have been getting the same answer from WV American Water, who is basically arguing that their water met the standard of being "pure, wholesome, potable and in no way dangerous to the health of the consumer" after the Do Not Use order was lifted and the flushing protocol was followed (i.e. after January 16).  They argue that their water complied with rules established by the Bureau for Public Health, including the 1ppm "standard" for MCHM.  I compiled some facts and dates that might be helpful if you are planning to reply to WV American Water in your case:

         The CDC released a methodology document on January 17 describing how they arrived at the 1ppm “standard.”  (http://www.dhsem.wv.gov/Documents/Press%20Release-%20CDC%20provides%20information%20regarding%20MCHM%201-17-14.pdf).  According to this document, the 1ppm number was based on one study on pure 4-MCHM, which did not consider any of the other constituents of crude MCHM that also contaminated the drinking supply.  The CDC document further states, “[a] level of 1ppm or below is not likely to be associated with any adverse health effects”.  

         On January 21, it was revealed that a second chemical, PPH, had been part of the spill.  The CDC did not come up with their "standard" of 1.2 ppm for PPH until after January 22nd. (http://emergency.cdc.gov/chemical/MCHM/westvirginia2014/pdf/DiPPH-PPH-calculation.pdf)

         The CDC issued an advisory against pregnant women drinking the water on January 15. (http://www.wvgazette.com/News/201401220039)

         The presence of MCHM caused acute health effects.  Specifically, 122 people went to the hospital with chemical spill related symptoms between January 18th and January 23rd, after the Do Not Use order had been lifted. (http://www.wvgazette.com/News/watercrisis/201401230122)

         Various Kanawha County schools have been closed to prevent students and staff exposure to the water.  For instance, Midland Trail Elementary and Riverside High were closed February 5th and 6th, and a teacher and student were taken to the hospital for chemical exposure. (http://www.wvgazette.com/News/watercrisis/201402220050)  Kanawha County schools announced that on March 3rd they would return to using the water for meal preparation in the school for the first time since January 9th.  http://www.wvgazette.com/News/201402280172.

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 Allegheny Highlands Climate Change Impacts June7 Blackwater Falls

NASA is on the forefront of global climate change research:

And, next door to NASA, NOAA is running a high resolution climate modeling supercomputer:


BUT. . . how is climate change affecting WV?  If you want to know, consider attending the 1-day conference:

Climate Change and the Highlands:  What's at Stake --  What's At Risk?

In West Virginia's beautiful Allegheny Highlands, rising global temperatures are putting the region's distinctive high-mountain economy and ecology at serious risk from the impacts of climate change.   

Climate change impacts valuable forests, streams, wildlife -- and humans.  Iconic landscapes like Canaan Valley, and beloved creatures like "Ginny" the West Virginia Northern Flying Squirrel, are at serious risk.   

On Saturday, June 7, 2014, the West Virginia conservation group Friends of Blackwater will host a day-long public conference at Blackwater Falls State Park -- featuring a wide range of distinguished speakers on the impacts of climate change on West Virginia's Allegheny Highlands region. 

Property owners, scientists, and all citizens who care about the Highlands are invited to attend this important event at beautiful Blackwater Falls.  Learn and discuss what we know -- and what we need to know -- about climate change and the Highlands.  

More information and details about the June 7 Conference, including a speakers list, is available at www.wvalleghenyclimate.org .  Save until April 15 with "Early Bird" registration!  

Thanks! for your attention.  Please feel free to share this message with anyone who you think may be interested.         

For more information:  

WV Allegheny Highlands

Climate Change Impacts Initiative

Project Director Tom Rodd


304-265-0018 or 304-541-4494

Administrator Brandae Mullins


FOB Charleston Office 304-345-7663   

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 Climate Solutions Workshop Monday March 24, 6-9pm

Jim Probst is hosting a Climate Solutions Workshop at the WV Environmental Council Office this Monday. Come to 2207 Washington St East in Charleston from 6-9pm to learn how to build a strong offense against industrial impacts on the future our environment. Please RSVP to charlestonwv@citizensclimatelobby.org

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 Correction from Last Update

In the last update, it was printed that “all other states that have passed this 20 week legislation have had it declared unconstitutional by their courts.” This is not entirely accurate. In every state where these bans have actually been challenged, they have been overturned or blocked. Thanks to Rachel at WVFree for the specifics!

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