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.
I won’t go into each bill in detail. Those details can be seen in other articles in this update. In general, our “representatives” are pushing an anti-water agenda that boggles the mind just over a year after a tragic incident that poisoned the water of 300,000 people in WV – and we still don’t know the long term impacts. It makes one wonder why!
There’s an attempt to remove the protection of Category A designation of the streams and rivers of WV. There’s an attempt to weaken water quality standards for selenium and aluminum. There’s an attempt to restrict a citizen’s right to sue industries when their water is contaminated. There’s an attempt to gut the above ground water tank bill even before that bill has been implemented. It makes one wonder why!
What I urge is to think of these attempts not as individual bills, but instead understand that each is a part of a radical right agenda to strip us of our human right to clean safe water. Please take the actions on individual bills when asked by the WVEC lobby team or the wider circle of organizations that are daily fighting back. But even if you don’t get an alert related to an individual bill, do the following for the next month: Every day, call your legislative members, both House and Senate, demand that they vote against ANY weakening of the standards on water no matter the bill. Keep demanding until they commit, then watch them to make sure they follow through.
And ask them one question….why. And let us know what they say. Don’t let them say that it’s because of jobs….or costs…or “regulatory overreach or duplication”…..or that it will mean that companies won’t come to WV. Let them know that water unites us….water is life itself… and that nothing is more important.
And then send this to your friends, particularly friends in those districts currently represented by Members who are attacking our rights each day.