All Hands on Deck: WV Water Protections Under Revision – Act by July 19
A recent a policy decision by the WVDEP related to water quality standards creates a loophole to allow industries to dump more toxins in our source water.
This proposal is part of a second round of human health criteria revisions – the portion of our water quality standards that protects our health from dangerous pollutants like cancer causing toxins, chemicals known to cause birth-defects, and poisons like cyanide.
We’ve had a chance to analyze the proposed revision with our water policy workgroup and have come to the conclusion that the policy is dangerous for West Virginia. Not only will it allow more toxins in our drinking water sources, it creates a shortcut for polluters to allow EVEN MORE toxins in our water with less public involvement.
We’ve highlighted five ways this policy puts our health and our water at risk:
- The proposal creates a loophole for industry to further weaken the human health criteria on a case-by-case basis if industry funds a study that sways the WVDEP to decide that water and fish can handle more toxins.
- This is handout to big corporations, who can afford the studies. Hint: chemical manufacturers asked for this loophole, so we are pretty sure they can afford these studies and are confident they believe they can demonstrate results in their favor.
- There is already a process in place to revise water quality standards. The revision sidesteps that procedure by creating a shortcut that reduces scrutiny and public input in decision-making.
- The loophole exacerbates environmental justice issues by allowing more toxins in waters near industrialized areas, which are often poorer communities that are already struggling with problems related to social, economic, and environmental justice.
- On top of all these factors, it’s just plain old bad policy. It’s vague and sets a precedent for further weakening of water quality standards statewide.
This is an all hand on deck call to action!
You can submit comments on the proposal through July 19 here. It’s important for the WVDEP to hear personalized responses from commenters. Think about how the policy change would affect you and your loved ones personally.
In addition to submitting written comments, please plan to join the virtual public hearing on the proposal on July 19 at 6:00PM.