Citizen Groups Challenge WVDEP’s Flawed Attempt to Weaken Water Quality

March 27, 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACTS:     Cindy Rank, WV Highlands Conservancy, 304-924-5802

Angie Rosser, WV Rivers Coalition, 304-637-7201 

Charleston, WV (March 27, 2013) – At today’s public hearing, WVDEP will hear arguments from citizens on the lack of scientific justification and consideration of the public interest in its attempt to pass an emergency rule that would allow drastically higher levels of dissolved aluminum into West Virginia streams. Exposure to aluminum at concentrations in the hundreds of micrograms/liter has been shown to stunt and kill aquatic organisms, including algae and fish. The proposed rule would result in a 13-fold and 46-fold increase over the current criteria for acute and chronic aluminum toxicity to aquatic life respectively, raising serious concerns over the future health of West Virginia waterways.

WVDEP cites that the revised criteria needs to be adopted as an emergency rule instead of going through the regular rulemaking process, which fails to adhere to public participation requirements of the Clean Water Act.  Groups’ submitted comments state there is no emergency that justifies the promulgation of this rule.  “The only emergency seems to be that our water is too clean and DEP believes that they are therefore somehow required to help a small number of polluters avoid the cost of treating their toxic waste.” said Jim Kotcon, Conservation Chair for the West Virginia Chapter of Sierra Club.

The lack of scientific study on the impact of the weakened criteria on aquatic ecosystems in West Virginia is of primary concern. Groups working to protect water quality contend that WVDEP must withdraw the proposal and carry out more extensive scientific research justifying water hardness as a mitigating factor in aluminum toxicity. “DEP is rushing this rule through without the scientific evidence to assure aquatic life and public health is protected,” said Don Garvin, Legislative Coordinator for the WV Environmental Council.

If adopted some streams may benefit from this change, but many more will suffer further impairment. Angie Rosser, Executive Director of the WV Rivers Coalition noted, “The public has an interest in being able to use and enjoy healthy rivers and streams. There’s too much at stake to adopt such a drastic change without scientific certainty that we’re adequately protecting all headwater streams.”

Citizen’s groups submitted comments: http://www.wvrivers.org/articles/aluminum comments.pdf

Report by Dr. Carys Mitchelmore: http://www.wvrivers.org/articles/Aluminum Summary.pdf

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About WVDEP Public Hearing:

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Division of Water and Waste Management have scheduled a public hearing and comment period on emergency rule changes to 47CSR2, “Requirements Governing Water Quality Standards.”  The DEP proposes an emergency rule to revise the dissolved aluminum criteria and human health Category A beryllium criterion in 47CSR2. The hearing will be held at DEP’s Charleston headquarters, 601 57th Street S.E., Charleston, WV 25304, in the Coopers Rock Training Room on March 27th at 6:00 p.m.  Copies of the emergency rule and other rule documents are available from the Secretary of State’s office or from the agency website www.dep.wv.gov/wqs.

About League of Women Voters of WV:

The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.

About Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition (OVEC):

OVEC, based in Huntington WV, is dedicated to the improvement and preservation of the environment through education, grassroots organizing, leadership development and coalition building.

About Sierra Club WV Chapter:

Sierra Club WV Chapter enjoys, explores and protects the environment and natural resources of West Virginia. www.westvirginia.sierraclub.org 

About WV Environmental Council:

The mission of the West Virginia Environmental Council is to facilitate communication and cooperation among citizens in promoting environmental protection in West Virginia, to assist in organizing grass roots groups, to facilitate interaction among established environmental organizations, and to correspond with all appropriate local, state, and federal agencies involved in the management of West Virginia’s environment.

About WV Highlands Conservancy:

Working since 1965 for the conservation of West Virginia’s natural resources. Publishers of the Highlands Voice and the Monongahela National Forest Hiking Guide. www.wvhighlands.org

About WV Rivers Coalition (WVRC):

WVRC’s mission is to “seek the conservation and restoration of West Virginia’s exceptional rivers and streams”.  WVRC values clean water as the foundation of life and believes that all people should respect and be able to enjoy clean West Virginia rivers and streams. Learn more at www.wvrivers.org.

Wood County Voter March 2013

The LWV of Wood County’s annual Meeting will be held Thursday, March 21, 2013 at the Parkersburg Country Club. Jill Parsons, CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of the Mid-Ohio Valley, will be the guest speaker. For details see the March Wood County Voter.

doc iconMarch 2013 Voter web.docx

Huntington March Annual Meeting

The March annual meeting will include a light supper and discussion of legislative action.

doc iconbulletin.3.13.doc

February-March 2013 Morgantown Newsletter

What D’ya Know … About City Government?

Our March meeting for members and the public will focus on what you always wanted to know about local government – what’s happening now, and what may change in the future. The meeting will be held at the Aull Center (Garlow House), next door to the Morgantown Public Library on Spruce Street, from 7-9 p.m. on Wednesday, March 13. There will be speakers introducing issues and responding to questions related to “City Manager/Council Form of Government”, “A Downtown for All”, and “Home Rule”. Morgantown residents and everyone in the Morgantown area will find this forum helpful in increasing their awareness of the operations of our local government, and hopefully will lead to increased participation of citizens at local levels of government. The forum will be followed by refreshments.

City Council Candidate Forum

There are 13 Candidates running for the seven seats on Morgantown City Council. Each council candidate has gathered at least 75 signatures from his or her ward, but will be elected “at large”; that is, everyone in the city votes for all candidates, one per ward. The City Charter determined that this system would ensure ward representation, but each councilperson would be responsible to the city as a whole. In the upcoming election on April 30, there are two wards that have only one candidate; four have two candidates; and one has three candidates. In order to decide which candidates will best represent you, please plan to attend our candidate forum on Wednesday, April 17, at Suncrest United Methodist Church, 7-9 p.m. The question and answer period will be followed by refreshments and informal discussion.

City Council Candidates

The following are candidates for Morgantown City Council, to be elected April 30, 2013. Incumbents are listed in bold font. There is no incumbent in the 6th Ward.

1st Ward: Ron Bane
2nd Ward: Bill Kawecki, Jim Manilla
3rd Ward: Wes Nugent
4th Ward: Bill Graham, Jenny Selin
5th Ward: Mark Furfari, Marti Shamberger
6th Ward: Mike Fike, Lisa Mardis, Jay Redmond
7th Ward: Nancy Ganz, Linda Herbst

Action Alerts

Contact the Governor to include Medicaid Expansion in WV’s Affordable Care Act reform!!
Our Board would like you to be part of a calling/mailing/e-mailing outreach to Governor Tomblin and our legislators encouraging them to ACCEPT MEDICAID EXPANSION AS PART OF THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT IN WEST VIRGINIA.

Medicaid expansion means putting 125,000-130,000 more WV low income people on Medicaid as their way of having health insurance under the ACA. If a family or individual earns 133% of the poverty level, or less, they may qualify.

Find excellent talking points and contact information at http://tinyurl.com/wvaca !

Lobby as a Citizen for Strong Shale Gas Rules and Legislation! Free support!
The WV Legislature 2013 Regular Session is open.  Please remind your representatives that we have not forgotten that the Horizontal Well Act still has many problems, and needs to be strengthened.

For many of us, Charleston is far away, but that should not deter us from contacting our representatives by phone, mail, or email.

Please visit http://tinyurl.com/shalegaslobbying to find out how you can contact your representatives, or become a citizen lobbyist in Charleston!

Also in this edition, learn about our leadership changes, read about Renate Pore’s AHA presentation, how two League Members attend the Largest Environmental Gathering in History, and how to become a League Member.

Mark your Calendars!

March 13 and April 17 League Events!

LWV Newsletter February-March 2013