WV Rivers News: Water Policy Update, Job Announcement, Pipeline Tour

WV Rivers Takes Legislators on Tour of Pipeline Construction; Community Members Share Their Stories

Mountain Valley Pipeline construction observed during the tour. 

Earlier this week, West Virginia Rivers Coalition and Indian Creek Watershed Association hosted a tour of pipeline construction for members of the West Virginia Legislature. Afterwards, legislators joined community members for a  town hall style discussion. Joining the tour and town hall were Senator Stephen Baldwin, Delegate Jeff Campbell, Delegate Evan Hansen, Delegate Sammi Brown and Delegate John Doyle.

During the morning, the legislators toured areas where Mountain Valley Pipeline is under construction in Summers County. Along the route, legislators met with affected landowners and heard their stories. After the tour, legislators joined over 40 community members to discuss issues related to pipeline construction like disrespected property rights; the lack of local jobs; and the negative impacts on tourism, the environment and communities.

The day ended with the legislators promising to work towards a better vision for West Virginia’s future. Read our blog on the tour and luncheon here.

The tour was timely, just this week a public comment period closed on an agreement between WVDEP and the Mountain Valley Pipeline for 26 water quality violations. You can read more about MVP’s violations, and WV Rivers comments to WVDEP here.

WV Rivers Submits Comments on WVDEP Rules

This month, WV Rivers provided comments on three WVDEP rules that affect water quality – the Surface Mining Reclamation Rule, a rule related to groundwater protection from mining operations, and a rule on hazardous waste management systems. Our comments were submitted during a public hearing where we were the only voice speaking in defense of water quality.

How do the rules affect water quality?

The changes to the Surface Mining Reclamation Rule would make it harder for landowners to seek compensation for damage done to their property by surface mining activities. We’ve asked WVDEP to explain their position on this rule change.

The groundwater protection rule could be good for water if it is implemented thoughtfully. It would incorporate all of the requirements of the Aboveground Storage Act (ASTA), a bill WV Rivers helped pass following the 2014 Water Crisis, into the Surface Mining Act. This would add an additional layer of oversite for aboveground storage tanks. We’ve asked WVDEP to adopt a few important steps into the implementation to make the rule successful. Read our full comments on both rules here.

The third rule we submitted comments on relates to hazardous waste management systems. We want to make sure WVDEP ensures that all hazardous waste is disposed of in approved facilities

WV Rivers is Hiring a Development Officer

Are you passionate about wild rivers and clean drinking water? Do you have the skills to help WV Rivers’ achieve our ambitious fundraising goals?

We’re looking to add a Development Officer to our team to execute a multi-year fundraising plan that advances WV Rivers’ mission to conserve and restore West Virginia’s river and streams, while setting the organization on a path towards financial sustainability.

Working closely with WV Rivers’ leadership, the Development Officer will be responsible for annual membership fundraising; donor cultivation and solicitation of planned gifts; foundation and cooperate grants assistance; creation and implementation of annual fundraising plans; special events; and donor communications.

A full description of activities, qualifications and applicant directions can be found here.

Share Your Thoughts on Proposed New River Gorge Designation Change

New River Gorge Hiker by Melvin Hartley. 

Have you heard about the proposal to change the National Park designation for the New River Gorge from a National River to a National Park & Preserve?

WV Rivers is gathering thoughts and questions from community members on this proposal to share with our congressional members.

To make it easy for you to share your thoughts, we’ve prepared a short survey on the proposed designation change – you can find it here. Please respond by July 31.

Read about the proposed designation change and contact our public lands coordinator, Rhea Mitchell at rmitchell@wvrivers.org for more information.

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