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Clean Water Action of the Week
Take Action to Keep More Toxins Out of Our Water
Both the House and Senate of the WV Legislature have introduced similar bills that would allow more toxins in our waters. SB 246 and HB 2506 have both been referred to their respective judiciary committees for consideration, check out our summary on the bills. Now is the time to let those committee members know that you want them to say “no” to dumping more dangerous toxins and cancer-causing chemicals in our drinking water supplies. Click here to send your message today.
Let legislators know that more toxic pollution is not what we want for the future of West Virginia.
E-Day at the Capitol – Next Monday 2/27
Join us Monday, 2/27, at the Capitol for E-Day! Attend a citizen advocacy training and meet with your legislators on issues related to water and the environment. WV Rivers is also looking for a few volunteers to help out at the WV Rivers table. Call 304-637-7201 to volunteer.
Cap your day at the Capitol off with E-Council's Awards Dinner, a fun evening celebrating six amazing environmental activists from across the state. The event starts at 6pm and features live music, a silent auction, scrumptious food, and a cash bar. Purchase tickets here.
Tracking Water PolicyAboveground Storage Tank Act (ASTA). Members of both the WV House and Senate have publicly spoken about their support and intention to weaken portions of the Aboveground Storage Tank Act related to oil and gas. Since the Act's passage in 2014, the oil and gas industry has lobbied for an industry-wide exemption under the rule. We'll be following bills related weakening of the ASTA closely throughout the session.
Natural Gas Pipelines - How You Can Comment
Two major natural gas pipelines have public hearings scheduled on their proposed projects.
WV Rivers will be hosting community meetings with local partners on each pipeline. We'll help you prepare for the public hearings and submit your comments. Community meetings will be held on:
Feb. 23: Atlantic Coast Pipeline Community Meeting in Buckhannon, WV
Feb. 28: Mountain Valley Pipeline Community Meeting in Lowell, WV
Photo by Rick Webb.
Below we have included information on each pipeline, their public hearings, and how you can comment.
Atlantic Coast Pipeline
The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is a proposed 600 mile project which would span three states, North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia.
Currently, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is accepting comments on the ACP's Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). We've reviewed the DEIS and found that it lacks critical information needed to fully evaluate the impacts of the project.
Public hearings on the DEIS are scheduled for:
March 1: Gandy Dance Theatre, Elkins, 5 pm
March 2: Wellness Center, Marlinton, 5 pm
Comments on the DEIS are due by April 6. Check out our fact sheet on the DEIS and the comment process. Attend our community meeting in Buckhannon to learn more about the DEIS.
Mountain Valley Pipeline
The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection will be hosting public hearings on the Mountain Valley Pipeline and its permits required by the state.
The Mountain Valley Pipeline is a 300 mile pipeline, which as proposed, would cross Wetzel, Harrison, Doddridge, Lewis, Braxton, Webster, Nicholas, Greenbrier, Fayette, Summers, and Monroe Counties in West Virginia.
permits are scheduled for:
March 6: Webster County High School, Upperglade, 6pm
March 7: Memorial Building, Hinton, 6pm
March 9: Robert C. Byrd High School, Clarksburg, 6pm
The hearings will give the public an opportunity to comment on the permits MVP must have from the WVDEP before construction can begin.These permits include the State 401 Water Quality Certification, Natural Streams Preservation Act Permit, and the Oil and Gas General Water Pollution Control Permit, check out our fact sheet on the MVP WVDEP permits. To learn more about the permits and the public hearings, visit the WVDEP website. For more in-depth information, attend our community meeting in Lowell, WV.
Join WV Rivers and partners next Thursday, Feb. 23 for a community meeting on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline's Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). We'll help you prepare and submit your comments, as well as answer your questions on the proposed pipeline and the FERC comment process. Check out a story on the meeting in the Inter-Mountain.
What: Atlantic Coast Pipeline Community Meeting
When: Thursday, Feburary 23, 6-9pm
Where: WVWC Preforming Arts Center, Greek Room, Buckhannon, WV
Can't make the meeting? Download our fact sheet on the ACP DEIS. Comments are due April 6.
Easy Clean Water Action of the Week
Each week of the legislative session we'll share actions you can take to help protect our water. This week, we're asking you to help spread the word and organize!
1. Share this email with your friends and encourage them to sign-up for Policy Updates. Help get more people involved, we'll need everyone to help defeat attacks on water.
2. Join us Monday 2/27, at the Capitol for E-Day! Attend a citizen advocacy training and meet with your legislators on issues related to water and the environment. WV Rivers is also looking for a few volunteers to help out at the WV Rivers table. Call 304-637-7201 to volunteer.
Justice Administration Says "NO" to
Protecting the Public and Environment
Austin Caperton, pictured right, was appointed to lead the WVDEP and already issues over lack of transparency and public engagement are quickly becoming some of our primary concerns.
Just two weeks into the job Secretary Caperton fired two WVDEP employees whose primary roles were to share information with the public. Last week language pertaining to the reduction of noise and light from natural gas compressor stations was quietly removed from a related permit as requested by the West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association. Furthermore, requests to the WVDEP and Secretary Caperton, by the media to comment on these moves have mainly been refused or ignored.
These actions are part of a larger alarming attitude towards the environment and the public exemplified by Governor Justice's State of the State Address, in which he said regulatory agencies are not there to tell industry "no." Governor Justice and Secretary Caperton seem to have forgotten that these agencies are here to serve the people and the environment of West Virginia, not industry.
SB246 – First Attack on Drinking Water
SB 246. The bill would allow more of the most harmful toxins to human health to be dumped into our drinking water supplies through changes to the permitting system.
Right now, our Water Policy Workgroup is carefully analyzing the implications of this bill and is preparing a fact sheet so you can take action.
SB246's first stop will be the Senate Judiciary Committee, please stay tuned for an action alert to make your concerns heard to those members.
Tracking Water Policy
Since the 2017 legislative session began last Wednesday, we've been paying close attention to what bills are introduced and will be tracking them as they move through the legislature.
In addition to SB246 discussed above, two bills related to oil and gas have been introduced that aim to weaken private property owner's rights. Both bills are re-brandings of legislation that failed during the 2016 session.
SB244 - Encouraging and facilitating efficient and economic development of oil and gas resources. This bill would allow development on private property, even if the owner did not sign a lease.
SB245 - Permitting natural gas companies to enter private property without prior consent of owner for limited purposes. This bill gives pipeline companies the right to survey private property without owner consent.
2017 WV Legislative Session: Defending Water Quality
The 2017 West Virginia legislative session began yesterday, February 8, and we know it will be a tough one. We anticipate an onslaught of attempts to eliminate or weaken current laws that protect our water.
In his first State of the State address, Governor Justice reinforced this belief when he singled out the WV DEP saying, “They’re not there to tell us ‘no.’", referring to his vision of the agency's role in making West Virginia more friendly for industry.
We need you working along side of us to defend our water!
Starting next week, we'll be sending weekly Water Policy Updates to help you stay informed and take action when your voice can make a difference. Sign up here.
Here's what we need your help on:
Get Involved! Upcoming Events
Events are happening around the state and region that aim to better protect our water. We've included some upcoming events below.
Feb. 9: TransCanada Open House on Proposed Gas Pipeline in Hancock, MD
Feb. 9: Community Drinking Water Meeting in Fayetteville, WV
Feb. 17-18: National Paddling Film Festival in Frankfort, KY
Feb. 23: Community Meeting on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline in Buckhannon, WV
Feb. 27: Environment Day at the WV Legislature in Charleston, WV
March 4: Water Quality Monitoring Training in Davis, WV
WV Rivers in the News
Learn to Monitor Water Quality
WV-VA Water Quality Monitoring Program, to effectively monitor water quality in areas with the potential to experience impacts from shale gas development.
The program will be hosting a training in Davis, WV on Saturday, March 4. Call 304-637-7201 to learn more about this opportunity.
What: Shale Gas Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring Training
When: Saturday, March 4, 10:00am - 4:00pm
Where: Davis, WV, National Youth Science Center
If you are interested in attending the training, please contact Trout Unlimited's Mid-Atlantic Angler Science Coordinator, Jake Lemon at 814-779-3965 or email@example.com .
Please apply by Wednesday, March 1. Directions to the training session and an agenda will be provided the week of the training.
Join WV Rivers and partners next Tuesday, Feb. 7 for a community meeting on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline's Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). We'll help you prepare and submit your comments, as well as answer your questions on the proposed pipeline and the FERC comment process.
What: Atlantic Coast Pipeline Community Meeting
When: Tuesday, Feb. 7, 7:00pm
Where: Linwood Community Library, Snowshoe, WV
Can't make the meeting? Download our fact sheet on the ACP DEIS. Comments are due April 6.
Birthplace of Rivers Coalition Goes to Bat for Mon Forest
Thousands of West Virginians are disappointed President Obama and our state’s Congressional delegation did not work together to protect Birthplace of Rivers with a monument proclamation. But this will not dampen the Birthplace of Rivers Coalition’s resolve to permanently protect this unique part of West Virginia.
In fact, now is the time for us all to stand together against Congressional attacks on the Monongahela National Forest and all of our country’s public lands. On January 3, the first day of the new Congress, the House voted along party lines to change the way it budgets for transfers of public land. This rule says, in effect, that giving away our national forests and other public lands has no dollar impact on the federal government.
The move makes it much easier to give national lands that belong to all Americans to states. Cash-strapped states would invariably be pressured to sell or lease these lands for mining, drilling or logging — just to close budget shortfalls.
On the third day of Congress, Senator Capito sponsored a bill to eliminate presidential authority to designate national monuments. Who then can we turn to when our state delegation doesn’t provide leadership on valuable conservation and economic opportunities?
The most important thing we can do for Birthplace of Rivers right now is to rally together for public lands. We need to keep public lands in public hands.
Our West Virginia delegation has historically been supportive of public lands. In the coming months, we’ll all need to be active, vocal supporters of the lands we treasure. Stay tuned, we’ll need your help to protect our public lands!
EPA Nominee Unqualified for Position
Ask Senators Capito and Manchin to vote NO on the nomination of Scott Pruitt for Environmental Protection Agency Administrator.
During last week's confirmation hearing, Mr. Pruitt demonstrated again and again that he is unqualified to head an agency whose mission is to protect human health and the environment.
Mr. Pruitt’s record shows he prioritizes profits and corporations over people and the environment. Throughout his career he has taken anti-science and anti-environment stances that disqualify him to serve as EPA Administrator.
We rely on EPA and its enforcement of the Clean Water Act as a last line of defense for the health of West Virginia’s rivers and streams. We must have an EPA leader who respects science and upholds national environmental laws.
The Senate will vote on his nomination as early as Tuesday, 1/24, please contact Senators Capito and Manchin and urge them to vote NO on Scott Pruitt for EPA Administrator!
Not in West Virginia? You can look up your Senators here.
You Can Visit the Locations of the Winning Photos!
Our photo contest celebrating West Virginia's federal public lands and waters received over 150 submissions from photographers across the state. The winning photos capture what makes our public lands and waters so precious. The best part? You can visit the locations of all the winning photos! Public lands belong to all of us and we've included some tips to inspire you to get out and explore these incredible destinations.
Water and Landscape: Kate's Branch by Randall Sanger
You can find this picturesque waterfall and many others along the Glade Creek trail system located within the New River Gorge National River. During the spring, Glade Creek is a favorite destination for native wildflowers.
Outdoor Recreation: Hiker Admiring a Developing Rainbow by Melvin Hartley
You'll find incredible views of the New River and the New River Gorge Bridge from the Long Point Trail, part of the Fayetteville area trail system of the New River Gorge National River. Adventurous hikers can head out to the Long Point overlook during Bridge Day for a spectacular view of the festival and BASE jumpers.
WV Rivers Staff's Choice Award: Route 39 Spring by Allen JohnsonMonongahela National Forest and part of the Birthplace of Rivers, this public spring is a favorite spot for both locals and tourists. You can find the spring just 200 yards west of the Cranberry Nature Center, on the Route 39 switchback.
Blue Ridge Outdoors Editor's Choice Award: Blue Heron on the New River
by William GroahSandstone-Brooks area trails of the New River Gorge National River. Make sure you bring your binoculars, this area is home to nesting bald eagles.
KEEN "Live Monumental" People's Choice Award: Cranberry Wilderness
by Sam TaylorNorth/South Trail in the Monongahela National Forest's Cranberry Wilderness. Red spruce are the only spruce species native to West Virginia and serve as critical habitat for both the endangered West Virginia northern flying squirrel and the threatened Cheat Mountain salamander.
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