Send a Letter & Help Keep Ohio River Protections in Place
The commission charged with developing pollution limits for the entire Ohio River has voted to discontinue this important responsibility. Now, that decision is out for public comment through August 20. You can read WV Rivers’ comments here.
WV Rivers and our allies throughout the Ohio River basin are concerned about this decision for a number of reasons.
- There will be protection gaps and inconsistencies. Across the eight states in the Ohio River basin, there are a total of 440 pollutants where there are no state water quality standards or ORSANCO’s standards are more protective than the states.
- States will have added burden. States depend on ORSANCO to establish numeric criteria for toxins like copper, cyanide, fluoride, methylmercury, and nitrites. Without ORSANCO’s pollution control standards, states would be burdened with the financial responsibility of researching, developing, and establishing numeric criteria for toxins that do not already have a state standard.
- Downstream states stand to pay the price. A state-by-state approach to setting water quality standards raises concerns related to interstate conflict. Without uniform standards for the Ohio River, an upriver state could develop weak water quality standards that could lead to pollution related issues for downriver states.
- It’s a step backward in cleaning up the Ohio River. ORSANCO’s pollution control standards are set to manage the Ohio River basin as a whole,rather than disjointed river segments. States should be able to count on ORSANCO to set uniform standards that bring the entire Ohio River closer to meeting the Clean Water Act’s key tenants of fishable, swimmable, and drinkable.