April 24, 2014 – Today the West Virginia Rivers Coalition (WVRC), which works to promote clean waterways in West Virginia, and the nation’s leading park advocacy organization, the nonprofit National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), filed an amicus brief in support of the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint, a plan for restoring clean water in Chesapeake streams and rivers—including the eight eastern counties of West Virginia.
The West Virginia Rivers Coalition, NPCA, and other organizations are urging the U.S. Court of Appeals in the Third Circuit to uphold a federal district court’s September 2013 ruling in support of the Clean Water Blueprint.
“The Elk River chemical leak that contaminated drinking water for 300,000 West Virginians and shut down business in our state capital, showed the need for reasonable regulations to protect our priceless clean water resources,” said Angie Rosser, executive director of the West Virginia Rivers Coalition. “We strongly support efforts to reduce pollution in West Virginia and in neighboring rivers and streams.”
In a remarkable example of collaboration, the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint was developed and agreed upon by citizens working with local, state and federal stakeholders — all with the goal of achieving clean water for the surrounding communities. Urban and suburban development and agricultural practices have resulted in increased levels of polluted storm water and nutrient runoff into Chesapeake streams and rivers like the Potomac and Shenandoah, threatening progress otherwise being made to reduce pollution from industrial sources.
“Clean water is not a luxury and, once degraded, it is difficult and costly to restore,” said Theresa Pierno, Chief Operating Officer of the National Parks Conservation Association. “Decisions to reduce pollution upstream will help improve water quality in states, communities, and parks downstream.”
Earlier this year, 21 state attorneys general joined the American Farm Bureau Federation's efforts to dismantle the Chesapeake’s Clean Water Blueprint. They were joined by West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrissey, even though West Virginia is a signatory to the Blueprint. The Bureau’s appeal, if successful, would not only threaten clean water for residents of eight West Virginia counties in the Bay drainage, but also would threaten efforts for clean water across the country.
“The Chesapeake’s Clean Water Blueprint is a solution-oriented example of cooperation among the states,” said Rosser. “It’s the kind of cooperation that anyone interested in states’ rights should embrace. In fact, the state of West Virginia already has embraced it.”
The NPCA and West Virginia Rivers Coalition amicus brief was submitted to the U.S Court of Appeals in the Third Circuit today in support of upholding the successful Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint. It was signed by 26 national and regional organizations from the 21 states whose attorney generals oppose the plan for clean water for the Chesapeake region, and by extension, communities across the country.
For additional information on each national and regional group joining the amicus, please visit: http://bit.ly/1jGkQer.
About the West Virginia Rivers Coalition
The nonprofit West Virginia Rivers Coalition works to conserve and restore the state’s rivers and streams and provide a voice for those who value water-based recreation and clean, drinkable, fishable, and swimmable waters. For more information, please visitwww.wvrivers.org.
About the National Parks Conservation Association
Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association has been the leading voice of the American people in protecting and enhancing our National Park System. NPCA and its 800,000 members and supporters work together to protect our National Park System and preserve our nation’s natural, historical, and cultural heritage for our children and grandchildren. For more information, please visit www.npca.org.