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WV Rivers Water Policy Update - Drinking Water Protection, Sign The Petition For Train Safety

posted Feb 27, 2015, 12:06 PM by Kathleen Tyner
Source Water Protection Rule Passes Both Houses         
SB 175, containing the rules to implement new requirements for public water utilities to develop and submit source water protection plans, passed the House on a 
96-2 vote today. A few differences between what the House and Senate passed will have to be resolved, but it looks promising that it will be soon on its way to the Governor’s desk. This is a major victory for taking proactive steps across the state in protecting water supplies. Citizens have an important role in the development and implementation of these new plans, and WV Rivers will be providing information over the next year on how you can be involved. For more information on what’s in store, see the Source Water Protection Section of our Citizens’ Guide to SB 373.

Senate Moves Tank Bill
On Tuesday night, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed an amended version of SB 423 relating to the Aboveground Storage Tank Act. Though improved from the introduced version, disappointingly the bill significantly rolls back protections. The bill would cover only approximately 12,000 of the nearly 50,000 tanks. It would also give the option for most tank owners to modify their existing permits or plans in lieu of being subject to the Act; it is unspecified if those modifications would be as stringent as the standards in the Act.

We are organizing a strategy for improving the bill in the House, and need you to stay tuned! And thank you for all of the contacts and presence at the Capitol – without your efforts we know we’d be dealing with something much, much worse. 

Category A Drinking Water Protections Passes the House
It’s looking good so far for a healthier future for the Kanawha River with the Category A rule to restore drinking water protections for the stretch of the river through Charleston. It passed the House on Wednesday on an 85-13 vote. Together, we were successful in fending off any harmful amendments. Its next stop will be the Senate Judiciary Committee – let those committee members of that committee to support Category A protections for the Kanawha River!

Coal Act to Weaken Water Protections
Today the “Coal Jobs and Safety Act of 2015” passed the House on an 
73-25 vote. It removes the requirement for coal operators to comply with water quality standards in their permits and directs the DEP to file an emergency rule that would allow more aluminum in our rivers and streams. Tell Legislators you are concerned about the provisions in the Coal Act that would allow more water pollution.

Take Action Now for Train Safety
Train cars spilling crude oil along the Kanawha River. Photo courtesy of Paul Corbit Brown,

As oil burned and spilled into the Kanawha River, the U.S. DOT is delaying the release of new train safety rules. Sign our petition to put pressure on the U.S. DOT to get the rules out before another train harms the waters and people of West Virginia. 

WV Rivers is heading to Capitol Hill March 5 for meetings with the WV congressional delegation. By signing the petition today, we can personally deliver your message to Senators Manchin and Capito and Representatives McKinley, Jenkins and Mooney. We need them to put the pressure on the White House to get new rail safety rules out before more West Virginia rivers are threatened.

Donate to our Clean Water Action Fund today! Our work in Charleston and Washington is possible only with your support!