Decision-Makers Need to Hear the Facts on Water Protections 

Make sure the facts are provided by donating to WV Rivers’ Science Fund by June 1

Dear Friend of WV Rivers,

During the 2019 legislative session, which ended last month, one of the most contentious bills related to West Virginia’s water quality standards – rules that are supposed to keep our water safe for drinking and recreation. Legislators had the opportunity to update certain cancer-causing toxin limits, called human health criteria, based on the best available science. Instead they chose to bow to industry demands to keep the outdated limits in place.

While the bill the Legislature passed did not update the human health criteria, it did set a deadline of 2021 to re-propose limits, with key milestones along the way. While 2021 seems a way off, we absolutely need to ramp it up now. The first milestone is October 1, 2019. That’s when we need to provide the science to convince rule-makers to set protective limits on toxins in our water.

We urgently need to raise $25,000 by June 1, 2019 to make sure rule-makers use the best science to set limits on toxins in our water. With your donation, we’ll make sure the facts are presented and that you have a voice during the process. Can we count on you?

Why is West Virginia still relying on outdated science to limit toxins? During a process called the ‘triennial review of water quality standards’ the WVDEP proposed to apply updated science to set new limits for 60 toxins found in our water supplies, based on EPA recommendations released in 2015. The proposal went through an extensive public comment process before it was sent to the WV Legislature for adoption. But the Legislature rejected the updates simply because polluting industries claimed they didn’t have enough time to study the new limits, even after a year and a half of public comment.

West Virginians deserve the best science available to protect health and water. During the legislative session, WV Rivers’ action alerts resulted in over 39,000 letters to lawmakers in support of updated human health criteria. We worked hard to make sure your voice was heard during the legislative process – even though some lawmakers tried to silence it. We gave it our all, but industry made off-the-record claims which persuaded some legislators to delay adoption of updated toxin limits. The WV Manufacturers Association even stooped so low as to recommend raising toxin limits based on this assertion: Because West Virginians weigh more, West Virginians’ bodies can handle more pollutants. This insulting and twisted logic is an affront to all of us.

Enough is enough. We deserve safe water! Please donate to WV Rivers today.  Your donations are the only way WV Rivers can help make sure that everyone who counts on West Virginia’s water has a say on its protections.

We have only a brief window of opportunity to make the case for science-based protective limits for waterborne toxins. The big chemical manufacturers aren’t going to hold back. They are spending tens of thousands of dollars to keep the status quo or even weaken toxin limits.  We need to raise $25,000 by June 1, 2019 to make sure the facts are presented – not just industry propaganda.

Here’s how we’ll put your donations to work:

Scientific Reports. We need to convince rule-makers to set protective limits for cancer-causing toxins with facts, data, and evidence. We anticipate the production of two reports. One making our case, and one rebutting industry’s claims. This is highly technical work, and it doesn’t come cheap. We need to budget $12,000 for these reports.

Public Health and Environmental Toxicity. At the heart of the issue is the effects of environmental toxins on human health. WV Rivers is a leader on water policy, but we are not public health experts. We need to work with highly qualified experts to testify and advise our work. We need $8,000 to make sure rule-makers hear from the experts.

Transparency.  Through our online newsletters, social media and publications we make sure you know what’s happening and what it means for our water. We work with media to get the truth out and force transparent decision making. We can’t let industry make deals behind closed doors. We need to raise $2,000 to make sure the public stays informed.

Citizen voices. Empowering all who use WV’s water to participate in the rule-making process is a central tenant of our work. Through fact sheets, action alerts and our online commenting tool, we make sure your voice is heard. We know that DEP will hold meetings in the coming months; we’ll make sure the public has access and ample opportunity to comment. We need $3,000 to keep it easy for you to submit your comments.

Please help with a tax-deductible donation today to make sure rule-makers use the best science available to set limits on toxins in our drinking water. If not us, then who? If not you, then who? Let’s do this!

For clean water,

Angie Rosser
Executive Director

P.S. Do you know people who are outraged about this? Please encourage them to join you in donating to WV Rivers today! We need everyone helping out to keep our water safe!

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