Water Policy News: Fifth Update of the 2022 Session
Drinking Water Protection Rollbacks Pending in Senate
HB 2598 amends the Aboveground Storage Tank (AST) Act to relax inspection requirements for certain oil and gas tanks located closest to our public drinking water intakes. It passed the House and now must advance through the Senate. As of today, the Senate Energy, Industry & Mining Committee has not placed the bill on its agenda. We need to keep the pressure on to reject further rollbacks of drinking water protections – please call and email your Senators! Read our updated fact sheet on HB 2598.
DEP Oil & Gas Inspector Funding Needs Help from the House
SB 480 provides a funding mechanism to be able to increase the number of DEP’s oil and gas inspectors.
Currently, there are only 9 inspectors for around 8,000 wells! SB 480 passed the Senate and now sits in the House Finance Committee. Please contact your Delegates and tell them to fully fund DEP’s Office of Oil & Gas. Read our fact sheet on SB 480.
Bills Advancing to Expand Privatization of our State Parks and Forests
Two bills are moving through the legislature aimed at expanding and extending the lease terms for private companies to develop and operate facilities and recreational activities for all of our state parks and forests.
The bills give the Director of the WV Division of Natural Resources the sole authority to decide what kind of recreational activities and facilities can be developed by private companies on our state public lands, and can set those lease terms for a 50 year period.
The House version of the bill, HB 4408, passed the Natural Resources Committee on February 16 and the Government Organization Committee earlier this week. It is now on the House Floor for amendments and vote.
The Senate bill, SB 485, passed the Natural Resources Committee on February 21 and is in the Finance Committee.
These bills open the door for profit-driven private investors to build and operate new facilities and recreational activities in all our state parks and forests for up to 50 years. There are no guardrails limiting the types of new facilities and activities allowed. Casinos, racetracks, amusement parks, ATV trails or similar developments could be built on our state’s public lands. There are no provisions for assessing the economic and environmental impacts of these new 50-year projects, or how they may interfere with access to and the enjoyment of existing outdoor recreation activities.
Let your legislators know you love what our state parks currently offer and oppose these bills.
WV Rivers Virtual Legislative Update – Tonight, 2/24, @ 7:00pm
Join WV Rivers this evening, February 24, for an in depth discussion on our water policy priorities during a free Mid-Session Legislative Update. We’ll be meeting on Zoom and registration is required. Register here.
The virtual discussion will get started at 7:00PM, and will include door prizes and a Q&A. Hope to see you there!
Tracking Water Policy: Bills We’re Watching
Water Quality Standards Rule
- SB 279 – the Water Quality Standards Rule. Completed legislation. Read more in the Charleston Gazette-Mail.
Coal Community Transition Support
- HB 4040 – Creating the WV Energy Efficiency Jobs Creation Act. To House Technology and Infrastructure.
- HB 2812 – Local Energy Efficiency Partnership Act. To House Government Organization.
- HB 2287 – Providing for solar energy production on formerly mined land. To House Energy and Manufacturing.
Preserve Protections in the Aboveground Storage Tank Act
- HB 2598 – Altering the definition of an above ground storage tank. Passed the House. To the Senate Energy, Industry, and Mining Committee.
WVDEP Oil & Gas Oversight
- HB 2725 – Relating to funding for the DEP Office of Oil and Gas. To House Energy and Manufacturing.
- SB 480 – Relating to DEP Office of Oil and Gas. Passed the Senate. In the House Finance Committee.
Additional Important Bills We’re Tracking
- SB 1 – Creating Mining Mutual Insurance Company. Passed the Senate. In the House Energy and Manufacturing Committee.
- SB 4 – Repealing ban on construction of nuclear power plants. Completed legislation.
- HB 4039 – Allowing increased civil administrative penalties to be promulgated by legislative rules of by the Department of Environmental Protection. To House Judiciary.
- HB 4055 – Clean Drinking Water Act of 2022. Addressing PFAS in water resources. To House Health and Human Resources.
- HJR 12 – Natural Resources and the Public Estate Amendment. The purpose of this resolution is to provide the people with the right to clean air, pure water, and maintenance of our State’s natural resources for current and future generations. To House Agriculture and Natural Resources.
- HB 2980 – Amend Groundwater Protection Act to cover Karst Terrain. To House Health and Human Resources.
- SB 481 – Relating to Adopt-A-Stream Program. Passed the Senate; to House Agriculture and Natural Resources.