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WV Rivers Water Policy Updates - AST Rule, Meeting New Leadership and Water Policy Developments

posted Jan 23, 2015, 8:10 AM by Kathleen Tyner   [ updated Jun 2, 2015, 9:26 AM ]

WV Rivers Launches 2015 Water Policy Agenda

Angie Rosser discussing water quality standards at Jan 9 citizen workshop.

To lead into the legislative session, over 100 people attended citizen education workshops sponsored by WV Rivers. Here, we launched our 2015 water policy agenda with these four main points:

1. We want all of our rivers and streams protected for current and future drinking water use.

2. We want strong source water protection plans.

3. We want strong regulation of aboveground storage tanks.

4. We want studies and recommendations to protect our water supplies to be further considered.

For more details, view the full Agenda here, and find links to fact sheets at

Public Hearing Held on Tank Rule

WV Environmental Council lobbyist Rob Goodwin delivering supportive comments at Wednesday’s public hearing.

WV Rivers submitted extensive technical comments on DEP’s Aboveground Storage Tank Rule. Those comments, co-signed by ten additional organizations, can be found here. Angie Rosser also delivered oral comments on behalf of WV Rivers at Wednesday’s public hearing, found here. Thanks to all who took time to submit comments – it matters!

Next steps for the rule involve DEP filing written response to public comments, instituting revisions to the rule based on comments, and introducing the rule as a bill for the legislature’s consideration. We will be following this rule very closely as it moves through the process. Though it is a fairly strong rule now, the legislature can make changes to it. Industry comments reflect that they are interested in weakening the scope and force of the program. For a fact sheet on the rule, click here.

To help inform decision-making on the rule, the WV Rivers – Downstream Strategies new report analyzing the 47,000 registered tanks was provided to every member of the legislature, the Governor’s Office and the WVDEP.

Making the Rounds to New Leadership

This week, WV Rivers joined WV Environmental Council, WV Citizen Action Group and the WV Sustainable Business Council in meeting with new leadership of the WV Legislature. We had meetings with Senate President Cole, Senate Judiciary Chairman Trump, and House Judiciary Chairman Shott to educate them on water policy issues.  All expressed appreciation for the information. None indicated that they are interested in seeing major changes to SB373, but anticipated there will be legislation introduced that will address industry concerns.

Tracking Water

Water-related legislative developments this week included:

SB 175, Public Water Systems rule that implements new source water protection planning requirements, passed out of its first committee without amendments. In general we support this rule, and our comments can be found here. Its next stop is the Senate Judiciary Committee.

SCR 8 was introduced in the Senate to urge EPA to withdraw its rule that would clarify protections for WV’s headwater streams under the federal Clean Water Act. The resolution was referred to the Agriculture and Rural Development Committee.

SB 61 was introduced by Charleston-area Senator Walters to establish the “WV Water Sustainability Institute” designed to detect and remove pollutants from water supplies.

SB 234 was introduced to exempt municipal water and sewer utilities from Public Service Commission jurisdiction. We will be analyzing any water quality implications from this proposal.