Water Policy News: Fifth Week of the 2021 Session
Water Quality Standards Rule Advances to the Senate
Delegate Evan Hansen introduced an amendment to HB 2382 which would update human health criteria that the EPA recommends need to become more stringent.
Today, 3/12, the House of Delegates voted on the WVDEP rules bundle, HB 2382, which contains revisions to water quality standards. The rule sets new standards for human health criteria, the provision in our water quality standards that determines how much of a pollutant can be discharged into rivers and streams. As proposed by WVDEP, 24 toxins would see changes to criteria – values in 11 standards would be strengthened and 13 would be weakened.
Yesterday, 3/11, Delegate Evan Hansen introduced an amendment on the House floor which would revise the human health criteria for all toxins which the EPA recommends West Virginia update to become more stringent to adequately protect human health. . The amendment fail on a 75-24 vote. We appreciate the courage of the 24 Delegates that took a stand for policy that prioritizes public health and water safety!
Today’s vote, which advanced HB 2382 to the Senate, passed on a 73-24 vote. Keep your eyes on your email inbox, we’ll let you know when it’s time to contact the Senate!
Learn more: The WVDEP proposed water quality standards rule has a long and complex history. You can view resources on the rule below:
Oil and Gas Tank Exemption Bill Heads to Senate After House Vote
Delegate Kayla Young recalled the 2014 Water Crisis, which happened days after the birth of her son, sharing that the experience motivated her to run for the West Virginia Legislature. Delegate Barbara Evans-Fleischauer encouraged members of the House to remember the unanimous bipartisan support that went into the passage of the AST Act in 2014. Read coverage of the House debate in the Charleston Gazette-Mail, MetroNews, WV Public Broadcasting and the Dominion Post.
Although the House has advanced HB 2598, it still has to work its way through the Senate. We’re going to need your help reaching Senators on this bill!
Thank Delegates Who Voted in Favor of Clean Water
Tracking Water Policy: Bills We’re Watching
Water Quality Standards
- HB 2382: WVDEP rules bundle, including revisions to water quality standards. Passed House of Delegates; awaiting Senate committee reference.
Economic Development and Renewable Energy
- HB 2588: Creating the WV Energy Efficiency Jobs Creation Act. In House Energy and Manufacturing 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.
Defending the Aboveground Storage Tank Act
- HB 2598: Exempts certain oil and gas storage tanks from the Aboveground Storage Tank Act. Passed the House of Delegates; sent to the Senate, referenced to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Fully Funding the WVDEP Office of Oil and Gas
- HB 2725: Relating to funding for the DEP Office of Oil and Gas. In House Energy and Manufacturing Committee.
- SB 404: Modifying well work permits issued by DEP Office of Oil and Gas. Passed Senate; 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.
Bills WV Rivers Opposes