WV Rivers News: ACP Abandoned, Water Quality Standards Update, Congress Moves on Pro-Environment Bills
House Gets Ready to Vote on Historic Great American Outdoors Act
The Act also begins to address the maintenance backlog that is plaguing our public lands. Providing funding for repairs to roads, trails, recreation sites, bridges, buildings, and water systems.
Both of West Virginia’s Senators are strong supporters of the Act and have championed the bill as it moved through the Senate. But, don’t take their leadership for granted! Every time you responded to a call to action on public lands legislation you encouraged West Virginia’s Senators to become advocates for West Virginia’s wild & wonderful public lands and waters! Now, we need to turn up the heat on members of the House as they prepare to vote on the Act at the end of the month. Please contact your Representative today and encourage them to support the Great American Outdoor Act.
Dominion and Duke Abandon the Atlantic Coast Pipeline
Tree clearing for the ACP near Clover Lick in Pocahontas County. Photo by Tanner Haid.
In early July, the news broke that the 600-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) was abandoned by parent companies Dominion and Duke. Increased costs and ongoing delays were cited as reasons for the decision. Read our full coverage of the announcement here.
What does this mean for our water? We’re still watching to see what happens next, but there are a couple scenarios that might happen: ACP might be forced to remove the abandoned pipe and reclaim the area; or another company may decide to try to finish what they started. Either way, we all need to stay vigilant to ensure that our rivers and streams are not further degraded by this project.
If you’d like to join WV Rivers in advocating for streams in the path of pipelines, please consider making a tax-deductible donation.
Update: WVDEP Finalizes Water Quality Standards Recommendations
In WVDEP’s newly revised water quality standards rule WVDEP is only choosing to update limits for 24 toxins (out of 94 EPA recommended updates) – 13 of which would be weakened. Additionally, WVDEP now recommends the development of a “workgroup” to study the remaining toxins and develop standards. This further delay of adopting recommended human health protections leaves our citizens at unnecessary risk.
As disappointing as this proposal is, it’s important to remember that it’s the West Virginia Legislature that will determine the final water quality standards rule. The Senators and Delegates we vote for in November will have the final say on water quality standards. Please, research the candidates and make informed decisions when you cast your vote on November 3.
Climate, Water, and Justice with Marshall University’s Dr. Logan – 7/17
This webinar has been approved for one hour of Category One continuing social work education, learn more and register here.
Bill Supporting Clean Water and Wildlife Moves Through Congress
- Increasing funding for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund to $8 billion annually, which will better enable states to address their significant water infrastructure improvement needs.
- Including the RECLAIM Act and authorizing the use of $1 billion over five years in un-obligated money from the Abandoned Mine Land fund for distribution to states and tribes to accelerate the cleanup of abandoned coal mine sites.
- Reauthorizing the Abandoned Mine Land reclaimation program for coal mines, which is expiring at the end of September 2021, for 15 years; increases the minimum amount of money that each state or tribe receives annually from $3 million to $5 million; and allows states to spend funds directly for abandoned mine related emergencies and then get reimbursed by the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement.
- Funding wildlife conservation efforts aimed at helping the 12,000 species of concern identified by the state wildlife agencies, including more than 1,600 U.S. species listed under the Endangered Species Act. This language is derived from the bipartisan Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, which has more than 180 cosponsors.
Learn more about H.R. 2 from our friends at the National Wildlife Federation, of which WV Rivers is proud to serve as NWF’s state affiliate.
Visualizing Drinking Water Protection Through Land Conservation
That’s why WV Rivers serves as the coordinator of the Safe Water Conservation Collaborative, a network of more than 25 partners working together with the mission “Protecting Drinking Water through Land Conservation.”
In June, the Collaborative published an interactive map to identify land in Jefferson and Berkeley Counties essential to drinking water safety. You can take a deep dive into the Collaborative’s Prioritization Map here.