Can You Help Keep Clean Water A Priority?

Dear Friend of WV Rivers,

How are you? I hope you are healthy and safe, and finding ways to bring calm and balance to your life during these times. The West Virginia Rivers Coalition team turns to our rivers and streams to find comfort. I wish for you, too, the experience of peace offered by spring sunshine, flowing waters and wild places.

If you haven’t guessed, this is a fundraising letter. We understand this might seem an unusual time to fundraise. To be honest, I found myself a little uneasy about it, but WV Rivers needs your help. WV Rivers is the only statewide organization solely focused on clean water throughout West Virginia and our work to advocate for clean water has grown more urgent and more challenging.

Right now, the state is moving forward with policy proposals that could endanger public health. Fortunately, our team has years of experience working from home offices; this has prepared us for navigating these uncharted waters. We remained fully operational as your statewide advocate for clean water and healthy streams.

I recognize that all of us are adjusting our lives in ways we never expected. But if you believe clean water in West Virginia is a priority, I ask you to join WV Rivers today with a tax-deductible donation in whatever amount that is manageable and meaningful to you. We depend on friends like you to be the voice for West Virginia’s rivers and streams.

You can trust WV Rivers to be a good steward of your donation. For over 30 years, we’ve led the way for clean water. Just a couple months ago, donations from people, like you, fueled our clean water advocacy during the 2020 legislative session, leading to some real victories:

  1. We shepherded through a resolution that will initiate a historic statewide study on the presence of toxic PFAS in our drinking water supplies.
  2. Together, we defeated a bill that would have rolled-back regulation of oil & gas aboveground storage tanks closest to drinking water intakes.
  3. We heard from decision-makers that they received more messages on clean water than any other issue throughout the past two years. WV Rivers’ action alerts generated 44,000 letters to legislators!

But we can’t rest on our laurels. Critical work is in front of us right now.

Strong water quality standards, the rules that regulate pollution in our water, are at the heart of WV Rivers’ work. This spring, the WVDEP will determine how to update one of the most important parts of WV’s water quality standards — human health criteria.

Human health criteria determines how much of a toxin can be in our water before human health is put at risk. Strengthening criteria based on the best science available has long been a WV Rivers priority. Did you know that West Virginia’s current human health criteria is based on data that is over 30 years old? Should we settle for that?

With your donation, we can push WV’s water protections into the 21st Century.

In September of 2019, we submitted a comprehensive plan to WVDEP with recommendations for updating human health criteria. At the end of March 2020, WVDEP released a proposal with their plan to revise the limits that is now out for public comment. WVDEP adopted some of our recommendations, like using a more appropriate fish consumption rate to estimate toxin exposure. But there are major gaps in protection.

EPA recommendations call for updating 94 criteria. Sadly, WVDEP’s plan would update only 24 of them. Additionally, the proposed plan would actually allow more amounts of toxins in our water for 13 of those chemicals. One of these toxins, Tetrachloroethylene, is the chemical responsible for the current drinking water contamination in Paden City. WVDEP has proposed allowing 10 times more Tetrachloroethylene in surface water that is used as a drinking water source!

In the coming weeks, we have a chance to change the course. Your donation is needed to fund our science team to conduct technical analysis, so that we can inform the public and decision-makers on the risks and solutions for protecting our health. People, like you, fund our clean water advocacy. We rely on your donations for our efforts. Backed by your financial support, we produce positive results that otherwise would not be possible.

These are extraordinary times. We need your help, and the help of your friends who care about safe water, to bolster our policy work on issues that no other group in the state can address. At a time when government is relaxing enforcement and rolling back protections under industry pressure, WV Rivers must provide a counter-balance based on science and the public interest. Please do what you can to support us today with your financial support.

Thank you so, so much. Everyone at WV Rivers joins me in wishing safety and well-being for all of our supporters. You are our river family!

To clean water and clean hands

Angie Rosser
Executive Director

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