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WV Rivers Water Policy Update – CSX Derailment, Drinking Water Protections Advance, Tracking Water

posted Feb 23, 2015, 7:35 AM by Kathleen Tyner   [ updated Feb 23, 2015, 7:37 AM ]
Another Water Safety Lesson Learned?
Exploded train cars spilling crude oil along the Kanawha River. Photo courtesy of Paul Corbit Brown,
Last week we were responding to yet another tragedy threatening the safety of our water. The CSX train derailment brought to light that a year after the water crisis, our drinking water is still very much at risk. We are grateful there was no loss of human life, but it begs the critical question: Will our policymakers make decisions to better protect our water and communities?  See 
Angie Rosser: Another water safety lesson learned, an op-ed column that puts this latest environmental disaster in the context of our clean water battles at the WV State Capitol.
Good News for the Kanawha
Clean water advocates celebrating with Delegate Barbara Fleischauer after the Category A rule passed the House Judiciary Committee.

In an ironic juxtaposition of events, we are celebrating the advancement of drinking water protections for the Kanawha River. The week started with a public hearing on Monday, where several citizens and advocates spoke up to support the bill to restore Category A drinking water protections for the Kanawha downstream from Chelyan, WV. On Friday, the House Judiciary Committee did what we wanted and passed HB 2338 without any harmful amendments. Your contacts and testimony worked! See more info here.
Now we need to 
thank those committee members for supporting Category A protections for the Kanawha, and urge all members of the House of Delegates to vote yes for HB 2283 with no floor amendments. The House will vote on the bill by Wednesday of this week, and then it goes on to the Senate.
The Latest on the Tank Bill
This week we expect the Senate Judiciary Committee to take up SB 423 that will amend the Aboveground Storage Tank Act. We have been busy sharing our concerns, but need you to reinforce the message! We are seeing that your contacts are slowing down legislation that would gut the new tank regulations, so please keep it up! 
Contact members of the Senate Judiciary Committee today and tell them why it’s important to maintain protections passed last year that keep leaky tanks from polluting our water. Click here for a review of our top concerns with SB 423. 

See today’s Wall Street Journal article about the WV tank bill 

The Cookie Lobbyist Says “Protect Our Water”! 
Left to right: Senator Kessler with Lori Jo, The Cookie Lobbyist.; Delegate Lane who voted YES Friday on HB 2283 to protect our water. 

Lori Jo has been busy and successful in getting her homemade Protect Our Water cookies delivered to members of the legislature. She is quickly becoming one of the most popular citizen lobbyists in the Capitol! Check out The Cookie Lobbyist page here and be inspired to get involved! 

Tracking Water

Here’s a summary of the status of priority water bills:
HB 2283: Includes restoring Category A drinking water protection for the Kanawha River. It passed out of House Judiciary on Friday, will be voted on by the full House this week and then goes to the Senate. Tell your Delegates to support drinking water protections and vote yes on HB 2283 with no amendments.
SB 175: Includes the Public Water Systems Rule that requires utilities to involve the public in developing source water protections plans. It passed out of House Judiciary on Friday and will be voted on by the House this week. Tell your Delegates to vote yes on SB 175 and fund source water protection planning.
SB 357 /HB 2566: “Coal Jobs and Safety Act” relieves coal companies from meeting water quality standards in their pollution permits and drastically weakens the aluminum water quality standard. It is being discussed by the House Judiciary Committee today.
 Tell your legislators to reject SB 357 / HB 2566 that weakens protections of our water supplies.