WV Rivers News: Jobs, Virtual Events, Water Policy Update, the Latest on the MVP

Pipeline Update: EPA Agrees with Conservation Groups on MVP Permit

Click the image above to watch our latest short video on the Mountain Valley Pipeline and its impact on communities.

Last month, we shared a blog about the current state of the Mountain Valley Pipeline and its attempts to secure important stream-crossing permits. On the state level, the pipeline is waiting on its 401 Water Quality Certification which ensures it will meet the state’s water quality standards. MVP must receive 401 permits from West Virginia and Virginia. These decisions are anticipated before the end of the year.

Federally, it needs a 404 permit from the Army Corps of Engineers required under the Clean Water Act. There is no deadline for this permit to be issued.

In a letter sent to the Army Corps earlier this Summer, the EPA agreed with the assessments of WV Rivers and other conservation groups. Their comments state that the MVP’s 404 permit lacks needed information to ensure water quality will be protected and recommends the permit be denied as proposed. Read more here.

As we wait for the regulatory agencies to release their decisions on the 401 and 404 certifications, we encourage you to check out our short video series on the MVP, and sign-up our new app that helps citizen scientists easily document and report stream pollution.

What’s Next for the Water Quality Standards Rule

Last month, we shared an action alert on a policy decision by the WVDEP related to water quality standards.

WVDEP’s proposal creates a loophole that would allow industries to dump more toxins in our source water.

Read the Charleston Gazette-Mail’s coverage of the public hearing on the rule revision.

This proposed revision struck a nerve with folks concerned about the safety of our drinking water.

In less than one week 444 West Virginians responded to our call to action and sent comments to WVDEP opposing this unfair policy.

This proposal is part of a second round of human health criteria revisions – the portion of our water quality standards that protect our health from dangerous pollutants like cancer causing toxins, chemicals known to cause birth-defects, and poisons like cyanide. Read WV Rivers’ technical comments on the rule.

What’s next? Now that WVDEP has reviewed and responded to public comments, the final rule is officially filed for the West Virginia Legislature’s consideration. The first stop for the water quality standards rule will be the legislative rule-making committee, which will meet this Fall. Keep your eyes on your inbox, we’ll let you know when the committee discusses the rule.

Virtual Climate, Jobs and Justice Public Forum on August 24

On Tuesday, August 24, from 7:00-8:30PM join Collin O’Mara, President and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, and leading environmental and policy experts to learn what Congress is considering to address the climate crisis and what it means for West Virginians.

Collin will be joined by Pam Nixon of the West Virginia NAACP, Jeremy Richardson of the Union of Concerned Scientists, and Sean O’Leary of the Ohio River Valley Institute to explore the intersection of climate policy and West Virginia.

WV Rivers’ executive director, Angie Rosser, will moderate the forum. Advanced registration is required. Register here.

WV Rivers is Hiring 2 Full Time Positions

Join the WV Rivers team! We’re hiring not one but TWO full-time campaign coordination positions!

The Public Lands Campaign Coordinator and Climate Campaign Coordinator are both responsible for the overall coordination and execution of their respective campaign goals and activities.

Read the full job descriptions, including salary and benefits offered, and apply here.

Help spread the word. Please forward this announcement on to folks who might be interested in the positions.

Infrastructure Bill Moves Out of Senate

We’ve talked a lot about infrastructure – what it is and why it matters to West Virginia. Last week, the US Senate passed a bipartisan infrastructure package that includes items that are good for West Virginia, our water, and takes important first steps towards addressing the climate crisis. Senator Manchin was instrumental in the bill’s passage. Read his op-ed in the Charleston Gazette-Mail.

So, what’s in it for West Virginia?

  • $11.3 billion to help reclaim about 140,300 acres of abandoned mine lands in West Virginia;
  • $4.7 billion to plug orphan oil and gas wells;
  • $289 million to upgrade our aging sewer and wastewater systems;
  • $5 billion to make our nation’s electrical grid more resilient, efficient, and ready for renewable energy.

Now, the package heads to the US House. We’re not sure when House leadership will take up the bill. Some House members have expressed disappointment that the infrastructure package doesn’t do more to tackle the climate crisis.

Mon Forest Listening Sessions – Share Your Ideas

WV Rivers wants to hear from folks about how they recreate within the Mon Forest! We’re continuing our series of informal listening sessions where visitors, residents, and tourists can share their experiences recreating in the Monongahela National Forest. We’d love to hear from you!  

The upcoming sessions invite a wide array of outdoor recreation users to voice their thoughts, concerns and opportunities for the future of recreation and handicapped accessibility in the Monongahela National Forest.

Click on the links below to register  for upcoming Listening Sessions. We’ll send you a reminder email before the session begins. We look forward to hearing your thoughts!

August 24Birdwatching, Native Plants, Foraging, Invasive Species in the Mon

August 26Turkey & Grouse Hunting in the Mon Forest

September 1:  Access(iblity) in the Mon Forest

September 8:  Whitetail Deer Hunting in the Mon Forest

September 9Trail Running in the Mon Forest

September 15Skiing and Winter Sports in the Mon Forest

September 16Bear Hunting in the Mon Forest

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