Water Policy News: Sixth Week of the 2021 Session

Easy Action for Clean Water

Each week of the legislative session, we share an easy action for clean water, it only takes a few minutes and it is the most urgent call to action.

Easy Action: Contact members of the Senate Judiciary Committee on the water quality standards rule.

Two Water Policy Priorities in Senate Judiciary Committee

After both the oil & gas tank deregulation bill, HB 2598, and the water quality standards rule, HB 2382, passed out of the House of Delegates the bills were assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

On Tuesday, 3/16, the water quality standards rule was on the committee’s agenda and we had arranged to provide testimony, but when it became clear that the committee would not have adequate time to address the rule, the chairman decided to take the rule off of the agenda.

We’re keeping a close eye on the committee’s agenda. We’ll let you know when the committee takes up either of the bills. In the meantime, let committee members know what you think!

Send a message on the tank bill and send a message on the water quality standards rule.

Water Policy in the News

Water policy has been a hot issue this session with coverage on the debate appearing in media outlets across the state. We’ve prepared a round-up of stories shining a light on water policy.

Public Participation


WVDEP Office of Oil & Gas Funding

Water Quality Standards

Oil & Gas Storage Tank Deregulation Bill

Halfway Through the Session – What’s Next

We just passed the halfway point of the 2021 legislative session and the end is in sight! March 28 marks the 47th day of the session, bills are due out of committees in their chamber of origin to ensure they have three full days for readings on the floor. It’s during the readings that the legislative chamber (House or Senate) can vote to amend the bill and vote whether to pass the bill to the opposite chamber or not.

March 31, is known as “cross-over day”, it’s the deadline for bills to move from their originating chamber to the opposite chamber. That means that if bills do not “cross-over” by the end of March 31, they are essentially dead and will not become law this session.

Check out this resource from the West Virginia Legislature on how a bill becomes a law for a full explanation of the legislative process.

Tracking Water Policy: Bills We’re Watching

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

Priority: Defending the Aboveground Storage Tank Act

  • HB 2598Exempts 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 morePassed 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. Read more about the billCompleted legislation. 

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 NeighborsIn Senate Economic Development Committee.
  • HB 3162: Permitting third-party ownership of renewable and alternative energy generating facilities. Similar to SB 30. In House Energy and Manufacturing 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. 
  • HB 2667: To create a cost saving program for state buildings regarding energy efficiency. This bill helps promote energy efficiency in state buildings. In House Finance Committee. 

Bills WV Rivers Opposes

  • HB 2810: Relating to the removal of the severance tax on oil and gas produced from low producing oil and natural gas wells. In the House Energy and Manufacturing Committee.
  • SB 616: Abolishing environmental advocate within DEP. In Senate Energy, Industry, and Mining Committee.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email