Groups Applaud Progress on Ohio River Protections
More than 5 million people depend on the Ohio River for their drinking water, and conservation groups staunchly opposed the move to outright scrap the current pollution-reduction arrangement. Massive public input in favor of regional cooperation helped convince commissioners to take a step back and reassess their options.
After the meeting, conservation groups applauded the action by the commissioners and by the governors who appointed them, including Govs. Bruce Rauner (Ill.), Eric Holcomb (Ind.), Matt Bevin (Ky.), Andrew Cuomo (N.Y.), John Kasich (Ohio), Tom Wolf (Pa.), Ralph Northam (Va.), and Jim Justice (W.Va.).
Environmental groups said:
“This is a positive step for the Ohio River and the 5 million people who depend on it for their drinking water, jobs, and way of life. We thank the commissioners and governors who decided to take a step back to assess the consequences of overturning 70 years of collaboration and cooperation around pollution standards. We also thank the over 6,500 members of the public for standing up and advocating during the comment process for a clean and healthy Ohio River, which is the foundation of our environment, economy, and regional identity.
“Serious problems such as sewage contamination, toxic pollution and harmful algal blooms continue to threaten the Ohio River and its many communities—and we firmly believe that the most effective, efficient and fair way to prevent pollution into the river is to work together. Pollution that enters the river upstream can impact communities downstream, which is why we need consistent, strong protections to protect people no matter where they live along the river.
“We appreciate the commissioners taking the time to gather the information that is needed to make an informed decision on the best way forward to reduce pollution into the Ohio River. We hope that the process moving forward will welcome additional input from the many stakeholders along the river and will continue to be transparent, inclusive, fair, and effective. We look forward to working with the states to improve the health of the Ohio River so that we can protect our drinking water, public health, economy, fish and wildlife, and way of life now and for generations to come.”
Conservation Groups on the Ground in West Virginia include:
Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition (W. Va.): Robin L. Blakeman, firstname.lastname@example.org, (304) 840-4877
West Virginia Rivers Coalition: Angie Rosser, email@example.com, (304) 437-1274
Lower Ohio River Waterkeeper (Ind./Ky.): Jason Flickner, Jason@ohioriverwaterkeeper.org, (502) 276-5957
National Wildlife Federation: Jordan Lubetkin, firstname.lastname@example.org, (734) 904-1589
Ohio Environmental Council: David Miller, email@example.com, (614) 487-7506
Other Groups willing to comment on the action include:
Environmental Law & Policy Center (Ill.): Madeline Fleisher, firstname.lastname@example.org, (857) 636-0371
Hoosier Environmental Council (Ind.): Marianne Holland, email@example.com, (317) 981-3210
Indiana Wildlife Federation: Emily Wood, firstname.lastname@example.org, (317) 875-9453
Ohio River Foundation (Ohio): Rich Cogen, email@example.com, (513) 460-3365
PennFuture (Pa.): Stephanie Rex, firstname.lastname@example.org, (412) 463-2942
Sierra Club, Cumberland (Ky.) Chapter: Hank Graddy, email@example.com, (859) 229-4033
Sierra Club Hoosier Chapter (Ind.): Bowden Quinn, firstname.lastname@example.org, (317) 695-3046
Sierra Club Illinois Chapter: Cindy Skrukrud, email@example.com, 312-251-1680 x1015
Sierra Club Ohio Chapter: Cheryl Johncox, firstname.lastname@example.org, (740) 360-0420
Valley Watch (Ind.): John Blair, Blair@valleywatch.net, (812) 464-5663