WV Rivers Supports Legislators in Introducing the Clean Drinking Water Act

Delegates call for Clean Drinking Water Legislation#wvpol

Posted by Delegate Evan Hansen on Monday, December 16, 2019

Yesterday, December 16, WV Rivers joined a group of legislators (Delegates Hansen, Pushkin, Doyle, Fleischauer, Miley, Estep-Burton, Lavender-Bowe, Walker, Diserio and Senator Ihlenfeld) for a press conference at the State Capitol to announce the introduction of the “West Virginia Clean Drinking Water Act” which aims to reduce harmful toxins in drinking water to protect the health of West Virginians and strengthen the state’s economy. Delegate Evan Hansen (D-Monongalia) is leading the drafting of the bill, and outline of which can be found here.

WV Rivers endorses the legislation that would work toward giving West Virginians what they deserve – safe water and less exposure to toxins and cancer-causing chemicals that pose serious health risks. According to the CDC, West Virginia currently has the 3rd highest cancer death rate in the country. This bill is one thing the state can do to work to reduce cancer risks for our residents.

The bill promotes transparency around what is in our water, which facilities are dumping harmful chemicals in our drinking water supplies, and what risks the pollution poses to citizens’ health and it requires disclosure and monitoring of toxic chemicals by the polluting companies.

It is important water companies do not bear the burden of dealing with the increased treatment costs of toxic pollution, but to reduce the toxins at their source. The bill would help ensure that polluters bear the responsibility and cost of reducing toxics in our environment – not the drinking water consumer.

The bill challenges corporations and our government to accept responsibility for protecting human health. West Virginians shouldn’t have to accept choosing between a job and cancer risks. The history of this reality is featured nationally in the movie, Dark Waters, which tells the story of Parkersburg residents who suffered the consequences of DuPont’s knowing and willful exposure of persistent toxic chemicals. This legislation is an important first step in ensuring that West Virginian’s are aware of and protected from chemicals in our water, like those involved in DuPont’s contamination.

It’s significant to see legislators taking this proactive step in protecting our water and health, especially in light of the WV Manufacturers Association’s current proposal to allow more toxic chemical in our water supplies, read more here.

Check out media coverage from the press conference here, here, and here.

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