Water Policy News: Water Bill Passes House – No Updated Protections

Easy Action for Clean Water

Each week of the legislative session, we’ll share digest of the latest water policy news and actions you can take.

At the top of each digest, you’ll find the easy action of the week, it only takes a few minutes and it is the most urgent call to action. The water quality standards rule was passed by the House without updated human health protections. Thank the delegates that voted in favor of an amendment that would have updated human health protections.

Easy Action: Click here to send a letter to the delegates that voted to update human health protections.

House Passes Water Quality Standards Rule Without Updated Protections – What’s Next

The WVDEP rules bundle (SB 163), which included the water bill, reached the end of its road through the West Virginia Legislature. Regrettably, the final bill passed the House of Delegates without updates to human health protections in our water quality standards. Read more herehere, and here.

On Tuesday, delegates had the opportunity to amend the bill and restore update protections. Delegate Evan Hansen along with 10 co-sponsors proposed an amendment to restore the updated protections. During debate over the amendment, Delegate Barbara Fleischauer referenced the overwhelming support of citizens to update our water quality standards, asking “is anyone listening to the people of West Virginia?” Ultimately, the amendment was voted down. See how your delegates voted here, and thank the delegates that voted ‘yes’ on Delegate Hansen’s amendment.

Prior to the floor vote three delegates, Delegates Evan HansenMike Pushkin, and Larry Rowe made impassioned appeals for updated protections. Delegate Hansen in his speech urged house members to support Concurrent Resolution 39, which would create a bipartisan Joint Select Committee to further study water quality standards. It is on the agenda to be considered by the House Judiciary Committee today, March 7.

Although SB 163 has passed the West Virginia Legislature without updated human health protections, thanks to you this bill received a lot of attention.

The bill includes a timeline for further public input and a new proposal for revisions between now and April 2020. We’ll be involved every step of the way, making sure the information considered is factual, balanced, and science-based – and that the public interests, not just industry interests, are represented.

Tracking Water Policy


HB2612 – Proposing rules related to the completion or updating of source water protection plans. We hope the staggered schedule of submission of updates of these plans will help facilitate more public input, meaningful review by agencies, and result in stronger plans.

SB163 – Authorizing DEP promulgate legislative rules – the water bill. Requires DEP to continue a public input process through October 2019, and submit proposed revisions by April 2020 for public comment.

SB675 – Requiring DEP create and implement Adopt-A-Stream Program


SB404 – Relating generally to sediment control during commercial timber harvesting operations

Third reading on House Floor

Died in Committee

SB534 – Collecting additional information for cancer and tumor registry

HB2334 – Establishing an industrial water extraction fee

HB2337 – Assessing the health impact of any new, or modification to, rule proposed by the Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection

HB2073 – Implementing the recommendations of the studies required by the Natural Gas and Horizontal Well Control Act


SCR39 – Requesting creation of Joint Select Committee on Requirements Governing Water Quality Standards

In the House Judiciary Committee

HJR25 – Natural Resources and the Public Estate Amendment – Right to a clean environment

In House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee

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