Water Policy News: Third Update of the 2022 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 your Delegates, ask them to maintain the legislative review process for water quality standards; and tell them to say no to allowing more toxins in our water.

Water Quality Standards Head to House Floor for a Vote

The WVDEP rules bundle, SB 279, which includes revisions to water quality standards has quickly moved through the Legislature. The rules have already pass the Senate, and are headed to the House floor for a vote, the last opportunity to amend the rules before becoming law.

Read an article on water quality standards in the Charleston Gazette-Mail.

Please contact your Delegates today! Ask them to maintain the legislative review process for water quality standards; and tell them to say no to allowing more toxins in our water. Send a message.

While in the House Judiciary Committee, Delegates Chad Lovejoy and Mike Pushkin both introduced amendments that would have strengthened the rules. Unfortunately, the amendments failed.

Please let Delegates Lovejoy and Pushkin know how much you appreciate their efforts to improve the bill!

Oil & Gas Storage Tank Exemption Bill Advances

Last week, we shared that a number of bills have been introduced to rollback protections under the Aboveground Storage Tank Act. We’re not surprised to see another legislative attempt to exempt oil & gas storage tanks from the ASTA. If you’ve been keeping track, we have had to fend off rollbacks in 2017, 2020, and 2021.

Yesterday, 2/8, the House Energy and Manufacturing Committee took up the bill and introduced a substitute version that makes changes to which tanks would be exempt from the ASTA.

Under the committee substitute, oil & gas tanks closest to drinking water intakes would not be exempted completely. However, the bill weakens inspection requirements for these storage tanks containing harmful pollutants located closest to our public drinking water intakes.

While we are glad to see some of our concerns addressed by the committee substitute, the bill is still a step backward for drinking water protection under the Aboveground Storage Tank Act. We are also disappointed that the House Energy and Manufacturing Committee recommend the bill head directly to the House floor for a vote, bypassing the Health and Human Resources Committee. Need a refresher on why exempting aboveground storage tanks from the ASTA is a bad idea? Check out our fact sheet.

Adopt-A-Stream Bill Crosses Over to the House of Delegates

In 2019, the WV legislature passed an adopt-a-stream program and this year they are considering legislation to improve the program – SB 481. This week, the bill passed out of the Senate and is now headed to the House of Delegates.

Adopt-a-stream is modeled after the adopt-a-highway program. A couple of the good things the new legislation proposes are:

  • Expanding sources of funding that can be used to support program. The initial legislation only listed one source of funding, the state’s litter control fund, but if the new legislation is adopted it opens the door to additional funding streams, making it more feasible to implement the program.
  • Expanding what streams or rivers can be part of the program. The original legislation limited eligible rivers and streams to those that were part of the stream partners program.

Virtual Environmental Lobby Day on February 16

Join our friends at the WV Environmental Council, and allied organizations from across the state on Wednesday, February 16 for virtual E-Day from 6:00-7:30pm. This year E-Day will include a legislative update from E-Council members, including WV Rivers, WV legislators, and E-Council’s lobby team. There will also be music and an opportunity to reach out to your legislators. Registration is required.

WV Rivers Virtual Legislative Update – February 24, at 7:00pm

Join WV Rivers for a Mid-Session Legislative Update on Thursday, February 24 at 7:00pm on Zoom. We’ll provide updates on our policy priorities, and you’ll hear directly from the Legislators working to advance them. A Q&A will follow the presentation. Register for the Legislative Update.

Tracking Water Policy: Bills We’re Watching

To keep up-to-date on all of our policy priorities, fact sheets and easy actions head over to our water policy webpage, and make sure you follow us on Facebook and Twitter for breaking news.

Water Quality Standards Rule

Coal Community Transition Support

Read an article in the Charleston Gazette-Mail on a recent meeting of the Select Committee on Coalfield Communities. Learn more about the Committee and their recent report on the needs of coal communities.

Preserve Protections in the Aboveground Storage Tank Act

WVDEP Oil & Gas Oversight

Read recent press coverage, here and here, on the budget crisis at the WVDEP Office of Oil and Gas.

Additional Important Bills We’re Tracking

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