Water Policy News: Sixth 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:  Share this blog post with your friends and family in West Virginia!

Countdown to the End of the 2022 Legislative Session

The 2022 Legislative Session will close on March 12 – that’s just 9 days away! Many of the bills we’ve been tracking have “died” or will not advance this session.

We are left with just three bills to organize around! This is an all hands on deck moment – we need everyone making calls and emails to their Legislators. Already emailed? Make a call. Already called? Forward this message on to your friends and family in West Virginia.

Bill to Allow Off Road Vehicles and Casinos on State Public Lands Advances

A bill, HB 4408, is moving through the Legislature that expands and extends private leasing in all state parks and forests. Read our fact sheet.

What does this mean?

Private developers could build casinos, racetracks, amusement parks, ATV trails or similar developments on our state’s public lands.

These developments would forever change the nature of our cherished state public lands.

Right now, West Virginia has 35 state parks and 9 state forests. Private leasing is limited to 6 state parks (Chief Logan, Beech Fork, Tomlinson Run, Stonewall Jackson, Lost River, and Canaan Valley Resort).

HB 4408 expands private leasing to ALL state parks and forests and the lease terms could be 50 years. That’s five times more than the current 10-year initial lease term. Furthermore, there are no provisions for assessing the economic and environmental impacts of these new 50 year projects.

HB 4408 has passed out of the House of Delegates and is now in the Senate Finance Committee. Contact your Senators today!

Inspections Keep Drinking Water Safe

Last week, we shared that HB 2598, the bill that would relax inspection requirements for certain oil and gas tanks located closest to our public drinking water intakes, had passed the House of Delegates and is now in the Senate Energy, Industry, and Mining Committee. Read our updated fact sheet on HB 2598.

This bill is the latest attempt to rollback water protections under the Aboveground Storage Tank Act. We’ve successfully fended off similar legislation in 2017, 2020, and 2021. We can do it again if you get involved! Please email and call your Senators today! Let them know that inspections keep our water safe.

WVDEP Oil & Gas Inspector Funding Bill Stuck in House Committee

The bill that would help address the WVDEP Office of Oil and Gas budget crisis, SB 480, passed out of the Senate on February 21.

Now it is in the House Finance Committee, where it has yet to make it onto the agenda. Read our fact sheet on SB 480.

HB 480 provides a funding mechanism to be able to increase the number of WVDEP’s oil and gas inspectors. Right now there are only 9 inspectors for about 80,000 wells. Please contact your Delegates today!

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.




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