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CHARLESTON - The State Conservation Committee (SCC) invites the public to comment on a proposed legislative rule that would create a grant program to provide funding for approved conservation projects across West Virginia.

The proposed rule outlines the criteria and eligibility requirements to apply for a grant. For example, an approved project must be related to conservation and use best management practices to reduce soil erosion and protect the state's waterways from sediment pollution. Those who receive grant awards may need to provide cost share to help with their project.

Gov. Jim Justice signed Senate Bill 655 in March that authorizes the SCC and its administrative office, the West Virginia Conservation Agency (WVCA), to create the grant program in an effort to expand conservation projects throughout the state.

The proposed rule sets technical standards for grant recipients to follow when putting best management practices into place. The SCC will establish a committee to review and evaluate grant applications and will also set criteria to evaluate and rank the applications.

Thursday's filing with the Secretary of State's office signals the start of a 30-day public comment period on the proposed rule. The comment period ends Saturday, June 29. The rule can be viewed on the West Virginia Secretary of State's website, www.sos.wv.gov

The WVCA will also hold a public meeting from 1-4 p.m. Wednesday, June 5, at the Braxton County Technical Center/Rural Emergency Trauma Institute Training Center, 89 Richard D. Minnich Drive, Sutton, W.Va.

Comments may be submitted to Belinda Withrow, 1900 Kanawha Blvd., East, Charleston, WV 25305, or bwithrow@wvca.us. Please write "Proposed Rule" in the subject line of an e-mail comment.

The mission of the West Virginia Conservation Agency is to provide for and promote the protection and conservation of West Virginia's soil, land, water and related resources for the health, safety and general welfare of the state's citizens.

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