Fifth Week of the 2018 WV Legislative Session
Easy Action for Clean Water
Each week of the legislative session, we send you a digest of the latest water policy news and actions you can take.
At the top of each e-news, you’ll find the easy action of the week, it only takes a few minutes and it is the most urgent call to action. This week, we’re asking you to be a citizen lobbyist! An in-person visit with your legislators is the most effective way for you to advocate for what is most important to you. The West Virginia Environmental Council can help you become a citizen lobbyist, they can facilitate meetings with your legislators and help you prepare for your visit. E-Council makes citizen lobbying easy and effective!
Easy Action: Contact E-Council Lobbyist, Crystal Good, firstname.lastname@example.org, and become a citizen lobbyist.
Bonus Action: Save the Date for E-Day at the Legislature on March 6, 2018.
Logging Bill Update – New Version of SB270 Presented in Committee
On Monday, 2/12, the Senate Natural Resources Committee discussed SB270, the state parks logging bill. During the meeting, the original bill opening all our state parks to commercial logging was replaced with a substitute.
The substitute bill still allows commercial logging in Watoga State Park, during what it calls a “pilot program”. Watoga is home to a scenic stretch of the famed Greenbrier River. WV Rivers does not support commercial logging in any state parks. Please consider sending a letter to members of the Senate Natural Resources Committee letting them know you oppose any logging in any of West Virginia’s state parks! Send a letter now!
New Coal Bill Emerges
During each of the last four legislative sessions, the coal industry backed a bill to change environmental and safety protections. This year appears no different. Last week, the Senate Energy, Industry, and Mining Committee announced it was originating a 37-page bill that, in it’s initial form, deletes an entire section of the Water Pollution Control Act.Removing the section would mean coal companies would no longer have to go through the process of certifying surface mining will not impact waters of the state. This change would have far-reaching implications and likely would not even be deemed constitutional.The bill has not yet been made available to the public and is currently in a “stakeholder process” which we are monitoring it closely.
Tracking Water Policy
SB270/HB4182: See our update above on SB270.
SB290: The bill that makes changes to water quality standards and pollution limits. The original bill was replaced by a substitute while in committee and the revised SB290 has pass the Senate and now heads to the House Judiciary. See our analysis on SB290 in last week’s Policy News here.
SB410: The bill that would establish a new position within the WV Department of Environmental Protection, the industry advocate, was taken off the committee agenda. This is a good sign SB410 will not progress this session.
HB2909: Introduced to the House Government Organization Committee, HB2909 would abolish the office of the environmental advocate within WVDEP. So far, the bill has stalled in committee.
HB4154: The “2018 Regulatory Reform Act” expedites the approval of certain industrial projects in a way that leaves the public out of the process. It will be voted on by the House this week, but still needs to go through the Senate.