Water Policy News: Sixth Update of the 2023 Session

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.

Today, February 24th, the PFAS Protection Act (HB3189) will be voted on by the full House of Delegates.

Easy Action: Contact your Delegate and ask for their support of the PFAS Protection Act on the House floor.

House of Delegates Voting on PFAS Protection Act Today

Thanks to your help, the PFAS Protection Act – HB 3189 – is set for passage by the full House of Delegates today (Friday, 2/24), after clearing the House Judiciary Committee on Monday.

Call to Action: Contact your Delegate and ask for their support of the PFAS Protection Act.

Once the PFAS Protection Act passes the House, it will be referred to committees in the Senate. It will need to move through the entire committee process and passage in the Senate by March 11 to become fully completed legislation. So please stay tuned, we’ll continue to need your help to get it across the final finish line!

Another bill relating to PFAS is also on track for passage by the House. HB 2860 aims to ensure the safe disposal of AFFF fire-fighting foam. AFFF is a type of PFAS used in fire-fighting that has contaminated water supplies, including in and around Martinsburg, WV. Read more from the Charleston-Gazette Mail here.

Defending our Public Lands from Off-Road Vehicles

We are still keeping a close eye on the Senate Outdoor Recreation Committee, watching for a substitute or amendments to SB 468  that would open up public lands to off-road vehicle use. The bill was on the committee’s agenda on Wednesday, but then was pulled off of the agenda at the last minute. Read more from the Charleston Gazette-Mail here.

The committee chair has expressed intent to bring the bill back before the committee either today or Saturday. Please contact the committee and let them know your concerns about opening up our public lands to off-road vehicles. One of the committee members let us know he’s received close to 500 emails on this bill, and that it’s making a difference!

Bill to Fund More Oil & Gas Inspectors Passes the House

On Thursday, HB 3110 passed the House of Delegates unanimously to provide more funding to staff inspectors within WV Department of Environmental Protection’s Office of Oil and Gas. While this is good step forward, the bill only provides for around 20 total inspectors to oversee more than 75,000 wells across the state. That still leaves WV at less than half of inspector capacity as PA and OH. Read our fact sheet. The bill now goes over to the Senate for consideration.

We appreciate Delegate Hansen’s effort to improve the bill by offering a floor amendment that would have closed loopholes that exempted 4 large companies from paying annual fees for all of their wells. This would have provided funding for 5 additional inspectors. The amendment was rejected on a voice vote. Read more from the Charleston Gazette-Mail here.

EPA to Hold Public Engagement Series on PFAS

EPA Region 3 is hosting a virtual community engagement session next Thursday, March 2nd from 6-8pm.

This engagement session will provide information about EPA’s ongoing work under the PFAS Strategic Roadmap and what it means for West Virginia and the rest of the Mid-Atlantic region.

There will be an opportunity for community members to share feedback directly to EPA leaders to inform future implementation actions.

More information on EPA’s efforts on PFAS is available here.

Register to participate in the community engagement session here.

Interviews on PFAS in WV Drinking Water Supplies

Radio Interview: Panhandle Live! 

On Tuesday, executive director Angie Rosser discussed the dangers of PFAS from fire fighting foam and a community event to raise awareness. Angie’s interview starts around minute 21.

Talk Radio Interview: WRNR

On Thursday, staff scientist Jenna Dodson discussed PFAS in WV drinking water supplies, potential solutions and a film screening at Shepherd University.

WVDEP to Hold Public Meeting on Ethylene Oxide Monitoring

The WV Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) announced this week that it has signed a collaborative agreement with Union Carbide Corporation’s Institute facility to reduce ethylene oxide (EtO) emissions. WVDEP has also published its final report on a short-term EtO air monitoring project in 2022.

A public meeting on the final report will be held next Thursday, March 2nd from 6-8 pm at the Wilson Union Hall on the campus of WV State University in Institute – 301 Washington Ave., Dunbar WV 25064. More information on the agreement and report can be found on WVDEP’s EtO webpage.

Join us for E-Day!

Please come spend next Tuesday with WV Rivers staff and like-minded environmental advocates from around the state. Drop us a line at wvrivers@wvrivers.org  and let us know you’re coming!

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