Clean Water Action of the Week
Support Scientific Water Policy Analysis
If scientific and fact-based water policy analysis and advocacy matters to you, please make a tax-deductible donation to WV Rivers' Science Fund. The Science Fund pays for critical needs like fact sheets, expert testimony, and tools that make it easy for you to submit comments. This is expensive, labor intensive work and it depends entirely on support from people, like you, to happen.
Thanks to a pledge from a generous donor, the first $10,000 donated to WV Rivers' Science Fund will be matched, doubling your impact! Any amount helps, please donate today!
Tank Registry Still Intact
WV Rivers' Executive Director, Angie Rosser, testifies during the HB 2811 public hearing.
At yesterday’s House Judiciary public hearing and committee meeting on HB 2811, legislators heard concerns from citizens and public water systems about the exemptions the bill adds to the Aboveground Storage Tank (AST) Act. The introduced version of the bill would have exempted 29,000 oil and gas tanks from WVDEP’s AST registry – a database established after the Freedom Industries tank leak to have information available on ownership, location, size, age and contents of ASTs across the state.
The committee responded to our concerns by restoring the requirements for these tanks to register, label and to provide notice to downstream public water systems. Though the bill passed out of committee would still exempt near 2,300 oil and gas tanks from regulation under the AST Act, maintaining the AST registry is a significant victory! The bill now goes to the full House for vote. Read more from the Charleston Gazette-Mail here.
Contact Your Senators Now on HB 2506
We're still in a holding pattern as we wait for the West Virginia Senate to take up HB 2506, the bill that would allow more toxins to be discharged in to our water. If you haven't already, please send you senators a letter asking them to reject HB 2506. Already sent a letter? Ask your friends and family members to get involved!
Looking for some more clarification on how HB 2506 is bad for rivers? The bill proposes to change the way discharge limits are calculated. In essence, through the calculation change, rivers would appear to have much more water flowing through them at their low flows, which would create the potential for a higher amount of toxic discharge. WV Rivers' science advisor, Evan Hansen, created the chart below to show how changing the calculation would apply to rivers throughout the state.
Find this table and more in our HB 2506 fact sheet. Want more scientific analysis like this? Make a tax-deductible donation to our Science Fund!
Tracking Water Policy
Last week a bill, HB 2909, was introduced that would abolish the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection's Office of the Environmental Advocate. The Environmental Advocate serves an important role in state government, providing daily assistance to the public on environmental issues and WVDEP related questions. Important issues handled by the Office of the Environmental Advocate include: questions about the public comment process; how to appeal agency decisions; and how to file a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.
We'll be keeping a close eye on this bill and we'll let you know when it's time to take action!