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WV Rivers Water Policy Updates - Actions You Can Take Today to Help Protect Water

posted Jan 30, 2015, 8:55 AM by Kathleen Tyner   [ updated Jan 30, 2015, 8:56 AM ]
Category A – What’s This About? 

It’s about saving our drinking water supplies. Waters classified as “Category A” by WV’s Water Quality Standards are protected for current or future drinking water use. Since 1967, it’s been the state’s policy to protect most rivers and streams for future drinking water use, with few exceptions. In the 1980s the Kanawha River became one of those exceptions. Now the legislature is to decide whether to support DEP’s proposal to restore Category A protection for the Kanawha. This change would promote a cleaner Kanawha River and provide the option for a secondary intake on the Kanawha for the Charleston water system.
We know industry groups oppose this change for cleaner, more reliable water. In fact, they are interested in severely limiting Category A drinking water protections altogether. The legislature will be considering this soon and needs to hear from you.
Find your 
Senators and Delegates contact info here and tell them to protect our drinking water supplies and:

1.       Support DEP’s proposal to remove the Category A exemption for the Kanawha River.
2.       Reject attempts to weaken Category A protections statewide.

Click here to view our Category A Fact Sheet, and share it widely!
Tracking Water 

Water-related bills we are tracking this week:

SB 175 – Public Water Systems Rule
This rule requiring water utilities to involve the public in developing source water protection plans is headed to the full Senate for a vote early next week. Tell your 
Senator you want strong source water protection plans, with public input, and to vote yes on SB 175.

SB 165 – Disposal of Drill Cuttings
Solid waste produced in “fracking” contains radioactive elements, and is being disposed in WV landfills. These radioactive elements dissolve in the water that leaches from landfills. Treatment cannot remove these radioactive elements, so the concern is that these toxins are entering our water supplies through the discharge of treated leachate. The Senate Natural Resources Committee is considering a rule that sets standards for controlling radioactivity levels. Tell members of the 
committee today: Don’t place our water, land, and people at risk and do not allow increased radioactivity in our landfills.

SB 357 – “Creating Coal Jobs and Safety Act”
This bill, introduced yesterday, has several provisions that would increase water pollution across the state. It is part of a legislative agenda of the WV Coal Association found 
here. We will be able to provide a more detailed analysis of impacts to water next week. But it’s not too soon to tell legislators: Don’t let bills like SB357 dirty our water!
Aboveground Storage Tanks
Any day now we expect to see at least two bills introduced related to aboveground storage tanks. We spent much of the week educating lawmakers on the findings in our 
report about the location, content and ownership of registered tanks across the state. We are certain there will be attempts to exclude many of these tanks from the new regulation. Stay closely tuned and keep letting legislators know that we deserve strong regulation of aboveground storage tanks.
Your Voice on Capitol Hill 

Our executive director, Angie Rosser left the WV State Capitol for the U.S. Capitol where today she is visiting with our members of Congress. She is there to speak for protecting our headwaters that feed drinking water supplies through the Clean Water Act and the Birthplace of Rivers National Monument proposal. 
Click here to learn more and sign up for monthly updates on the Birthplace of Rivers campaign.
Water Back for Lewisburg 
Booms were used on the Greenbrier River to keep contaminated water from flowing downstream. Photo by the Charleston Gazette.

We experienced a bit of déjà vu this past week when the water supply for 12,000 people in the Lewisburg area was contaminated by a diesel spill last Friday. Water was shut off, schools and businesses closed for several days. Residents are relieved intakes appeared to be shut down in time and none of the toxic spill got into the water system. Still, we are all reminded again how vulnerable our water is, and of the need for strong protection of our water supplies. To read more about the spill click here