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The regular legislative session came to a close March 12, 2016 but our work continues on various issues throughout the year. Below lists updates on our 2016 water policy priorities with links to more information.
West Virginia Water Policy
Revisions to Water Quality Standards
We support protective water quality standards that protect our right to use and enjoy clean water.
Aluminum and Selenium
Legislative committees advanced revisions to water quality standards that would allow more toxic Aluminum and Selenium pollution in our rivers and streams. Before the revisions go into effect, they must be approved by the EPA. The EPA's most recent concerns about these changes are reflected in their February 23, 2016 letter to WVDEP available here.
The rules bundle (HB 4053) that contained these changes died in the last hour of the regular session, however later passed in a June special session. Now they go to EPA for approval.
Triennial Review of State Water Quality Standards
We participated in regular meetings of the WVDEP Water Quality Standards Program and commenting on their triennial review of the state standards. Five revisions are being proposed - a summary can be found here.
Drinking Water Protection
We support strong, transparent source water protection planning that includes meaningful public input. A victory we led was the unanimous passage of SB 625 that preserves public access to information about threats to drinking water supplies.
Our Science Advisor, Evan Hansen, serves on the WV Public Water System Supply Study Commission and presented its recommendations to the Joint Legislative Oversight Commission on State Water Resources in February.
We support maintaining statewide "Category A" public water supply designated use protection in our water quality standards. We are participating in DEP's study of Category A statewide application currently underway.
We support oversight of aboveground storage tanks to adequately protect water resources. This year the legislature considered new regulations for aboveground storage tanks. We opposed further weakening of standards for storage tanks and successfully promoted additional protections for installation of new tanks on karst terrain.
The rules bundle (HB 4053) that contained the tank rule died in the last hour of the regular session, however passed in a June special session.
Proposed Rules Governing Horizontal Well Development
We support strong regulation of "fracking" and its waste to adequately protect water resources. We opposed a dangerous bill that would change permitting processes, SB 565, did not pass. We also monitored SB 601 that dealt with regulation of drilling waste landfills. We are participating in major proposed pipeline projects to minimize impacts to water quality and quantity.
Federal Water Policy
EPA/Army Corps of Engineer Clean Water Rule
We support the clarification of headwater streams and wetlands are under the jurisdiction of the federal Clean Water Act.
We support stronger protections of streams threatened by mining impacts.
We support a national monument designation of a 120,000 acre area in the southern Monongahela National Forest through Congressional or Presidential action.
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