Friends of Blackwater staffers Sean Coffers, Emmie Cornell, and Logan Thorne recently spent a couple of days in Washington, D.C. working on water and environmental issues on both a state wide and national level. It was a productive time.
Tuesday was spent with our friends at the Water Protection Network at their annual membership meeting. There, we learned all about the Network’s goals for the year and their legislative priorities. We got to hear amazing speakers discuss a wide range of water topics including flood mitigation, the Army Corps of Engineers policy and procedures, and why Green Infrastructure is an important -and cost effective- part of our built environment. Several of the key speakers were former senior level engineers and Senate confirmed administrators of the Army Corps of Engineers who’s experience was invaluable in guiding the discussing and providing insight. We also got to meet watershed groups from over 20 other states as well as a number of D.C. area policy experts.
On Wednesday, we spent the day on Capital Hill spreading the word with West Virginia’s Congressional Delegation. We got to meet with Senator Capito in person, and with staff members from Senator Manchin’s and Representatives McKinley’s, Miller’s, and Mooney’s offices. We discussed important upcoming legislative items that could have a big benefit to West Virginia and our environment such as renewal of Abandoned Mine Lands funding, ARPA-E legislature, LWCF, and WRDA. We also emphasized how these programs creates jobs, tourism opportunities, improve property values, and has other downstream economic benefits. They were largely receptive to these ideas and appreciated our input.
We’d like to thank the members of the Water Protection Network, National Wildlife Federation, American Rivers, and everyone else who made this such a successful trip.