GREEN Vol. 25 Issue 4

WVEC Legislative Update

GREEN Vol. 25 Issue 4 View / Comment Online DonateFeb 7, 2015

WV Coal Dome
How Does the WV Legislature ♥ Dirtier Water? Let Us Count the Ways…
Bill Price
This was certainly the week of water in the WV Legislature. I wish I could say that it was a good thing. But unfortunately, members of the Legislature seem determined to move us backward by leaps and bounds when it comes to ensuring that people in WV have safe, clean water to drink, to make baby formula with, to take medicine with or to brush our teeth with. They seem determined to put the interests of the polluters over the health and well- being of our people. They talk about the costs of strong laws to industry, but ignore the cost of last year’s chemical spill to businesses, particularly small businesses, and the years of disregard for water quality standards in our rural areas where people are dependent on private wells for drinking water. More
Chemical disaster
“Gutting the Aboveground Storage Tank Act”
Vickie Wolfe
The worst bill to hit the ground this week was H.B. 2574/S.B. 423, "Amending the Aboveground Storage Tank Act." It should read "Gutting the Aboveground Storage Tank Act." The Aboveground Storage Tank Act was created by last year's landmark S.B. 373, which passed both houses unanimously. More
Update on Category A
Vickie Wolfe
Last week we told you about the DEP's proposed rule change to restore "Category A" (drinking water) protection to a portion of the Kanawha River from Belle to the Kanawha's confluence with the Ohio. The rule has been introduced as S.B. 167 and H.B. 2289. More
Mountaintop removal mining
Coal Industry Took a Risk with Mountaintop Removal and Are Asking Legislature for a Bail Out
Rob Goodwin
House Bill 2566, the Coal Jobs and Safety Act of 2015, should be called the Coal Industry Bail Out Act of 2015.Testimony from Alpha Natural Resources and the WV Coal Association this week before committees in the House and Senate could not have made the intent of this act clearer. The proposal is an effort through deregulation to cut costs in a struggling industry. A major component of the bill is to create a permit shield that will attempt to enable the coal industry to escape the liability in clean-up costs of hundreds of miles of streams it has polluted through the misguided risky practice of Mountaintop Removal. More
Water pollution from coal
The Aluminum Rule Change is Baa-ack…
Vickie Wolfe
You may recall that a couple of years ago, the DEP proposed a rule change that would calculate allowable levels of aluminum in streams based on the water's hardness. During the 2014 legislative session, the Senate asked the DEP to pull the rule change, because legislators didn't think it would be a good idea to vote for dirtier water so soon after the Freedom Industries spill. More
Coal sunset
What I know about coal and the industry
Conni Lewis
At Thursday's public hearing on the "Coal Jobs and Safety Act of 2015", I was proud to see environmentalists and the UMWA stand together in opposition to an assault on safety, our shared environment and, in fact, hope for the future. It's a shame that it's necessary to even have such a hearing, a shame that the coal industry even wants these changes and a shame that the industry wants people and our waters to pay the price for their actions. Environmentalists and coal miners shouldn't be adversaries, but it is in other people's interests to make it seem that way. More
Net metering
Net Metering Bills take on new meaning this week
John Christensen
We had some good news as well as some bad news this week on the Net Metering protection front. First the good news, HB 2001, the companion bill to SB 1, the first two bills introduced in the 2015 WV Legislative session, passed out of both bodies, clean and untouched except for the addition of the section on Net Metering as found in the AREPS law (that was 99% repealed), and was signed by the governor to be one of the first completed pieces of legislation. We were hoping that would be the end of the story. Not so fast. There are still two Net Metering (as amended) bills out there to watch (SB 1 and HB 2201) and negotiate and repair or kill. More
Come to our press conference on Monday! & other important calendar items
Vickie Wolfe
Members of the WV Safe Water Roundtable are organizing a press conference to express our deep concern about the number of bills that propose to weaken water protections. We need lots of clean water fans in the room to demonstrate that citizens are alarmed about this! The press conference will be Monday, February 9 at 10:00 a.m. in the McManus conference room (252M), on the hallway near the House chamber. Be there! More
Additional reading
Additional Reading
Vickie Wolfe
Last month the EPA released a scientific report called "Connectivity of Streams and Wetlands to Downstream Waters" that demonstrates the importance of small streams and wetlands to downstream water quality. The report is based on current scientific research, specifically 1,200 publications from peer-reviewed scientific literature. More
Bills We Are Tracking
Vickie Wolfe
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