Office of Environmental Advocate

WVDEP Environmental Advocate Ed Maguire


The Environmental Advocate staff provide daily assistance to the public by handling requests or complaints. Requests for assistance can include questions about the public comment process, how to appeal agency decisions, how to file a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, and the best methods for getting agency attention for a community problem.

The Office of Environmental Advocate hosts quarterly town hall virtual meetings that are open to the public. These sessions are designed to allow citizens to raise concerns, ask questions, or seek guidance from within the DEP. Advocate staff are also serving as the coordinator for Environmental Justice efforts throughout the agency.

Contact Us

West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection
Office of Environmental Advocate
601 57th Street SE
Charleston, WV 25304
Phone: (304) 926-0441

Citizen Resources

DEP Citizen's Guide

The DEP Citizen's Guide is a document intended to introduce citizens to the divisions within DEP as well as provide guidance and insight for requesting information, public participation into rulemaking processes, filing environmental complaints, and more.

Environmental Equity Policy

The purpose of this policy is to address the disparate adverse environmental impacts and the lack of proportionate funding and environmental benefits, when they exist, that may impinge on the quality of life in low-income and minority communities.

Permit Hearings and Appeals Guide

This guide is designed to provide an overview of public participation in the DEP permit application process and the steps to appeal a DEP decision.

Programs Overseen by the Office of Environmental Advocate

Rehabilitation Environmental Action Plan (REAP)

Since 2005, the Rehabilitation Environmental Action Plan strives to clean up West Virginia and rid the state of unsightly litter. The REAP initiative harbors all of the state cleanup programs within the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection. REAP is a powerful force in the campaign against illegal dumping and littering.

REAP focuses on cleanup efforts from both program staff and volunteers statewide. In a unique partnership, the program empowers citizens to take ownership of their communities by providing technical, financial, and resource assistance in cleanup efforts.

Dilapidated Structures

The "Reclamation of Abandoned and Dilapidated Properties Program" was created within DEP by the West Virginia Legislature in 2021. Unfortunately, the legislation did not specify any immediate funding source for the program. In March of 2022, the Legislature approved a transfer by the Governor's Office of $10,000,000 to launch a pilot phase for the new program. As a result, grants for the reimbursement of demolition expenses for previously targeted structures in 21 selected towns and counties from around the state began in July 2022.

That pilot phase of funding for demolition of abandoned and dilapidated structures was designed to last one year. It is anticipated that the effort will be expanded in the future to include numerous additional towns and counties.

Youth Environmental Program (YEP)

The West Virginia Youth Environmental Program was established in 1963 under the Division of Natural Resources as the West Virginia Youth Conservation Program. Its mission has not changed over the years: To provide a challenge and an opportunity to the youth of our state to participate in environmental projects within their communities.

The program is sponsored by the DEP. It is designed to unite existing youth groups such as 4-H clubs, scouts, kindergarten, elementary, junior high/middle and high schools, FFA chapters, church youth fellowships, and others toward the common goal of Making West Virginia Shine! The program provides incentive to the groups to actively participate in environmental projects such as litter cleanups, recycling drives and tree plantings. It creates an interest and enthusiasm for preserving our natural resources, with more than $15,000 in cash and other awards including a college scholarship.