Roundup of the Week’s Activities

On Wednesday, “Category A” protection for the portion of the Kanawha River that flows through Charleston passed the House 85-13 and is headed to the Senate.  Previously, this was S.B. 167, but it’s now been bundled with other DEP rules in H.B. 2283.

One bill we haven’t mentioned in previous newsletters is S.B. 175, which is a DHHR rules “bundle.”  It’s important to us, though, because it contains the rules for implementing new requirements for public water utilities to develop and submit source water protection plans.  It passed the House on Friday, 96-2.  If you’d like to learn more about source water protection plans, take a look at the WV Rivers Coalition’s handy Citizens’ Guide to S.B. 373.

S.B. 357, the “Coal Jobs and Safety Act” passed the full House on Friday by a vote of 73-25It removes the requirement for coal operators to comply with water quality standards in their permits, and also directs the DEP to file an emergency rule that would index aluminum criteria to water hardness, which in most cases will allow greater concentrations of aluminum in streams.  The bill now goes to the Governor.

S.B. 352 passed the Senate Judiciary committee on Saturday.  We told you about this bill last week–it would enable the development of an affordable recycling program for businesses, by enabling them to hire a waste hauler without that hauler being required to obtain a “certificate of need.”  It needs to pass the full Senate by Wednesday, March 4 (“crossover day”), and chances of that look good! 🙂

Things don’t look as good for S.B. 520, which authorizes local governments to adopt local energy efficiency partnerships (LEEP).  The companion bill is stalled in the House, having been referred to a committee that has no more planned meetings this session.  In order to pass the Senate by “crossover day,” S.B. 520 must either a) pass the Senate Finance committee today (yes, the Senate plans to work on Sunday) or b) have a waiver of the rules that say bills must be read on the floor on each three separate days.  Keep your fingers crossed!

It appears that S.B. 482 is dead for this session, since it has never re-appeared on the Senate Judiciary Committee agenda. That’s good, as it would have seriously weakened air pollution permitting for smaller sources, and established unrealistic deadlines for the DEP to review permit applications.

A recent tweet by one of our favorite delegates:  “Off to another beautiful day at the bad idea factory…..”

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