WV Rivers News: Halfway through the Legislative Session – How’s Our Water?
URGENT: Contact Members of Senate Judiciary Committee on Water Quality Standards
The water quality standards portion of the rules bundle is related to a critical portion of West Virginia’s water quality standards called human health criteria. Human health criteria determines how much of a toxin can be in our water before it harms our health. The proposal before the Committee would allow for an increased amount of 13 toxic chemicals to be present in our water supplies, weakening our water quality standards. This is unacceptable for a state with the 3rd highest cancer death rate.
The House of Delegates has already passed the rules bundle, and if you are a West Virginian, we urgently need you to contact members of the Senate Judiciary on the dangers of weakening water quality standards.
Water Policy Snapshot: Halfway Through the Session
Beyond the water quality standards rule, we have a full roster of bills we’re tracking and there is less than a week left for the Legislature to introduce new bills. Below, we’ve put together a handy tracker on all of the bills we’re watching – including the four policies we’ve prioritized this session. If you are looking for more in depth information on these issues, head over to our water policy webpage for factsheets and previous editions of our weekly water policy news.
Priority: Water Quality Standards
- HB 2382: WVDEP rules bundle, including revisions to water quality standards that would allow for more chemical toxins in our water. Learn more. Passed House of Delegates; in the Senate Judiciary Committee – Contact members of the Committee now!
Priority: Defending the Aboveground Storage Tank Act
- HB 2598: Exempts certain oil and gas storage tanks from the Aboveground Storage Tank Act (ASTA). This bill would exempt around 880 storage tanks close to drinking water intakes from regular inspections under the ASTA, putting our drinking water at risk. Learn more. Passed the House of Delegates; in Senate Judiciary Committee. Contact members of the Committee.
Priority: Fully Funding the WVDEP Office of Oil and Gas
- HB 2725: Relating to funding for the DEP Office of Oil and Gas by establishing an annual fee per well that would fully fund the Office. In House Energy and Manufacturing Committee.
- SB 404: Modifying well work permits issued by DEP Office of Oil and Gas. This bill would help to partially fund the Office of Oil & Gas. Passed Senate; on 3rd reading in House of Delegates, expected to pass.
Priority: Economic Development and Renewable Energy
- HB 2588: Creating the WV Energy Efficiency Jobs Creation Act. In House Energy and Manufacturing Committee.
- HB 3198: Establishing a program to facilitate the recovery of areas of the state that have been impacted by the reduction of coal production and consumption, known as the “Coal Community Comeback” bill. In Business, Entrepreneurship and Economic Development Committee.
- SB 30: Permitting third-party ownership of renewable and alternative energy generating facilities. Learn more from our friends at Solar United Neighbors. In Senate Economic Development Committee.
Other bills we’re keeping an eye on that have water quality implications.
Bills WV Rivers Supports
- HB 2722: Prohibiting the use of class B fire-fighting foam for testing purposes if the foam contains a certain class of fluorinated organic chemicals. We support this bill that would prohibit the use of firefighting foam for testing purposes which contains dangerous PFAS chemicals. Passed the House of Delegates unanimously; in Senate Government Organization Committee.
- HB 2980: Amend Groundwater Protection Act to cover Karst Terrain. This bill provides additional protections for groundwater. In House Health and Human Resources Committee.
Bills WV Rivers Opposes