Water Policy News: First Update of the 2023 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 members of the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee – Ask them to advance the PFAS Protection Act (West Virginia Residents Only).

Bill to Protect Drinking Water From Toxic Chemicals Introduced

PFAS Protection Act Introduced to Both Chambers

Good news from the Capitol! Angie Rosser, our executive director and registered lobbyist, reports that your advocacy asking for the co-sponsorship of the legislation designed to stop toxic chemicals from polluting our drinking water sources has worked!

The PFAS Protection Act has been introduced into both chambers of the Legislature with bipartisan support!

On the Senate side, we have a bill number, SB 485, and know the committee assignments. Its first stop is the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, then it will head to Senate Finance.

We’ll have a lot of work ahead of us to make sure the bill advances through the Senate!

We’ve heard from the House that the PFAS Protection Act has bipartisan sponsorship and should begin moving next week. We’ll let you know as soon as we have bill numbers and committee assignments.

Call to Action

Now is the time to reach out to member of Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. We’ve set-up an action page for you to send messages to all of the members of the committee.

Videos on PFAS in WV Drinking Water Supplies

Video: PFAS in Drinking Water Supplies

Looking for information on what PFAS are? Where they are found in our drinking water supplies? And what the PFAS Protection Act does? This is the webinar for you! This 30-minute webinar provides are great overview of PFAS in West Virginia.

Video: Eastern Panhandle PFAS Forum

In this 1 hour and 20 minute recording of a live meeting, you’ll hear from expert panelists on the problem of PFAS in water supplies from a state and federal prospective. Watch the videoEnter Passcode: M9mKGvv& when prompted.

Bill to Double the Number of WVDEP Oil & Gas Inspectors Advances

This week we saw introduction of a bill that would provide much needed funding for the WVDEP Office of Oil and Gas; one of our three water policy priorities.

The bill, Providing funding to the Office of Oil & Gas for well inspectionsSB448, was introduced in the Senate Energy, Industry and Mining Committee. Right now, the WVDEP Office of Oil & Gas only has 9 inspectors responsible for over 75,000 wells.

Our friends at E-Council share that this bill would double the funding for this office and increase inspector numbers from 9 to around 20. This bill allocates 0.75% of the O&G severance tax to the Office of Oil and Gas and adds annual fees depending on the amount produced and class of wells. Compared to the other surrounding states, West Virginia has the least amount of inspectors per wells. While this is a good first step to addressing the inspector crisis, we still would like to see the number of inspectors increase to around 40.

Upcoming Learning Opportunies

Over the next month, we’ve scheduled 30-minute Lunch & Learn webinars to share information about important policies where your voice matters. Webinar registrants will received a recording of the webinar. Hope to see you on Zoom!

February 2 at 12:00pm: Mountain Valley Pipeline How to Comment on Upcoming Permit Approvals. Two permits from federal agencies are pending approval and you have the opportunity to comment on them. Join our webinar on how you can craft and submit your comments. Register for the webinar.

February 9 at 12:00pm: Methane, Climate Change, and an Opportunity to Comment on Proposed EPA Regulations. Learn about a proposed EPA rule to limit methane pollution and how you can comment. Register for the webinar.

February 16 at 12:00pm: Four Facts and Three Concerns about YOUR West Virginia Public Lands. Join us for a conversation about the local, state, and national lands we West Virginians own or manage. Register for the webinar.

February 23 at 12:00pm: What is Blue Hydrogen? Before West Virginia volunteers to be the next “hydrogen hub,” we need to learn about what Blue Hydrogen is and its potential impacts to our communities.

Lobby Days at the Capitol

Citizen lobby days at the West Virginia Capitol are a great way for you to meet fellow advocates, learn about policies legislators are considering, and connect with organizations that share your values. Say “hi” to WV Rivers team members at the following citizen lobby days!

February 15: Black Policy Breakfast and Day of Action. Download a copy of the policy agenda.

February 28: Environment Day at the Capitol. Read about the legislative priorities.

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