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WV Rivers Water Policy Updates: Week 7 of the 2016 Legislative Session

posted Feb 29, 2016, 10:01 AM by Kathleen Tyner   [ updated Mar 3, 2016, 8:29 AM ]
Water Policy Call to Action - Week 7

In WV Rivers' weekly Water Policy Update we highlight the most important action you can take for clean water that week. In-depth information about the actions can be found in the articles below.

This week's action: Contact your Senator and tell them to support SB 625 that is critical to public participation in source water protection planning.

Our Right to Know – One Step Closer

Great news – your 650 letters to the Senate Judiciary Committee helped convince them to pass out SB 625 on Friday and the full Senate will vote on the measure this week. Please act today to tell your Senator to vote yes on SB 625. The bill clarifies that public water systems may identify potential contaminant sources to local drinking water supplies that are already subject to public disclosure.

This is critical to public participation in effective source water protection planning and minimizing risks to our drinking water. See our SB 625 Fact Sheet for more info and stay tuned – we’ll need your help to get it through the House later this week!

Fracking Safeguards in Jeopardy

Senate Bill 565 would allow oil and gas drillers to build roads, well pads and other drilling infrastructure before getting a well work permit. A well work permit helps assure that engineering is adequate to protect water and land from negative impacts. See the SB 565 fact sheet here. This dangerous bill has already passed the Senate, and is now referred to the House Energy and Judiciary Committees. Please take action to tell these committee members to protect water and property and reject SB 565. We must not weaken the permitting system for “fracking” operations. See WVDEP’s take on this bill here.

Oil & Gas Industry on a Roll

In addition to SB 565 mentioned above, oil and gas industry lobbyists are covering the Capitol to garner support for bills that make it easier to drill and build pipelines while compromising protections for water and landowner rights. Below is a summary of bills under consideration from our friends at WV Surface Owners’ Rights Organization, read more details here.

  • SB 508: undermines property rights by taking away the ability to file nuisance suits against oil and gas drillers and others whose activities devalue and interfere with enjoyment and use of property. The bill has passed the Senate and is now in the House Judiciary Committee. Read more here and here.
  • SB 596: gives pipeline companies planning interstate pipeline companies the right to access and survey private property without landowner permission. The bill is up for vote in the Senate today. Read more here and here.
  • SB 646: deals with pooling tracts of land into units without surface or mineral owner agreement, commonly known as “forced pooling”.
Save The Date - Safe Water Event - March 22
Provide your input on local drinking water protection efforts! WV Rivers and Fayette County Resource Coordinator Office are co-hosting a public forum on safe water. Fayette County Water Utilities will be present to talk about potential contamination sources to local water supplies, discuss collaborative ways to manage those threats, and explain how to provide input on source water protection plans.

What: Safe Water Public Forum
When: March 22, 5-7pm
Where: Hawks Nest State Park

RSVP to our Facebook event and invite your friends!

For more information visit our webpage.