by Karan Ireland
We continue to work hard to ensure that the DEP rule on water quality standards is as protective of human health as possible. If you’ll recall from last week’s GREEN, the rules bill (SB 167) had been pulled from the agenda by Senate Energy, Industry, and Mining Chairman Randy Smith so that the WV Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) would be able to conduct its first public listening session to hear any of any new scientific studies that would affect its decision on whether to adopt a number of EPA recommendations on human health criteria.
The DEP meeting was held yesterday, Thursday, January 17, at its headquarters in Kanawha City at 2:00 pm. Dozens of citizens concerned about their health and the safety of their water took time out of their days to attend the meeting and question the agency about its seeming reluctance to defend its own proposed rule. Present at the meeting were representatives of the West Virginia Manufacturers Association (WVMA) who, at a November rulemaking review committee meeting, had requested additional time to analyze “new” science they purported to have. They have not offered any new scientific data to the WVDEP, nor did they present any at this listening session. You can find excellent coverage of the meeting here, here, and here.
The bill is likely to be taken up in Senate Energy, Industry, and Mining on Tuesday at 1:00 pm in room 208W of the Capitol. The WVEC lobby team, along with West Virginia Rivers Coalition, and others are working hard inside the building to strengthen the bill, but we need your help. We are fortunate that Chairman Smith pulled the bill last week. We hope that you’ll call and thank him and contact all the members of both the Senate EIM committee and the Senate Judiciary (where the bill will go next) to let them know that you want them to do everything in their power to protect our water and our health!