Kotcon Receives Special Service Award from National Sierra Club
Morgantown Dominion Post
23 September 2012
James Kotcon, associate professor of plant pathology and
environmental protection at WVU, has another honor to hang on his
office wall — this one reflecting his commitment to the
He was presented a 2012 Special Service Award by the national
Sierra Club for his efforts over the years to get the West
Virginia Legislature to pass adequate regulations to protect water
and air quality.
He was one of 28 award recipients. Also honored with a Special
Service Award was Elizabeth Little, of Hillsboro, who campaigned
for increased awareness and stronger protections from unregulated
natural gas development in West Virginia, and the West Virginia
Sierra Club chapter, for its Marcellus gas campaign.
Jim Sconyers, chairman of the West Virginia Chapter, in nominating
Kotcon for the award, said, “Jim Kotcon has been a leader on
virtually every important environmental issue in West Virginia in
the past two-plus decades. These have ranged from a bottle bill to
the ‘garbage wars’ to coal ash dumps to Marcellus gas to power
plants, transmission lines, and much more.”
Kotcon is recognized as an authority on energy and air and water
quality issues. He was instrumental in Morgantown signing the U.S.
Mayor’s Climate Protection Agreement.
Other campaigns included a successful lawsuit by the U.S Justice
Department and others over federal Clean Air Act violations and
chairing a coalition that negotiated major emission reduction
equipment at Longview Power coal-fired power plant.
He’s now involved in initiatives to protect land and water from
toxic coal ash pollution, and organizing for more effective
Marcellus gas drilling regulations.
Kotcon has been a member of the W.Va. Chapter of the Sierra Club
since 1986, and has served on its Executive Committee most of the
past 25 years in a number of positions.
He is a founding member of the Coopers Rock State Forest
Foundation and Cheat Lake Environment and Recreation Association,
and a founder of the West Virginia Environmental Council.
He has taught at WVU since 1985, and serves as faculty advisor for
two WVU student environmental groups: Sierra Student Coalition
(SSC) and Society of Environmental Professionals (SEP).