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Action Alert: Submit Comments on WVDEP Biological Assessment Rule

Virtual public hearing on 3/9 at 6PM; comments due on 3/11 

The WVDEP is once again accepting public comments on a revised rule that analyzes the aquatic life in the stream to assess whether the stream is meeting the state’s water quality standards. Submit your comments here

The latest iteration of the procedural rule is being developed by WVDEP in response to SB 687 passed in 2017. Its purpose is to define the aquatic life component in the narrative water quality standards and the threshold at which the standard is being met or not.

The narrative water quality standards state that a stream must be able to support aquatic life. This narrative standard has been used to hold industry accountable for polluting a stream to the point where it no longer supports a healthy population of aquatic organisms. The aquatic organisms used to measure stream health are the benthic macroinvertebrates.

WVDEP’s new procedural rule describes an approach based on the current method that WVDEP has used for the past 18 years. The agency has yet to adopt EPA’s recommended method. The currently used method, WV Stream Condition Index (WVSCI), scores aquatic life communities on a scale of 0-100. The new rule would establish an impairment threshold of 50, an attainment threshold of 72, and values between 50 and 72 must undergo additional analysis. View a flowchart of how the assessment process works

This revised method raises several concerns:

  • The impairment value of 50 and 61 are not based on any statistical information or scientific data.
  • The streams receiving values between 50 and 72 must undergo additional analysis, during which time they are neither listed as impaired nor considered healthy.
  • The proposed rule does not fulfill WVDEP’s duties under the Clean Water Act and allows DEP to delay listing streams that fall within 50 and 72 until additional analysis is performed.
  • The current method, WVSCI, used to calculate whether a stream supports aquatic life is outdated and should be updated to the more accurate, EPA recommended method, Genus Level Assessment of Most Probable Stream Status (GLIMPSS).

Let WVDEP know you want them to use a more precise method to assess stream health! Submit your comments by March 11, 2021 and join WVDEP’s virtual public hearing on the rule March 9 at 6:00pm by following these instructions



 
 

Action Alert:  Reject HB 2598  Bill to Exempt Oil and Gas Tanks from Aboveground Storage Tank Act on House Energy Agenda
February 22, 2021~
WVRivers.org

It’s baaaaaack…. lobbyist are at it again trying to exempt oil and gas tanks from the Aboveground Storage Tank Act. This year’s bill, HB 2598, is similar to last year’s rollback attempt – which you defeated! It would exempt certain oil and gas tanks that are closest to our public drinking water intakes. If this bill passes, over 1,000 tanks in 27 counties would become unregulated. View our fact sheets to learn more.

We anticipate the House Energy Committee to take up the bill on Tuesday, 2/23.

Act NOW: Tell members of the House Energy Committee to protect our drinking water and reject HB 2598.

Many of you helped us succeed in convincing the legislature in 2017 and 2020 to keep these oil and gas tanks in zones of critical concern (“ZCCs”) regulated by the AST Act. But industry keeps pushing. We must hold the line and say that all tanks within ZCCs should have the standards and oversight mechanisms of the Aboveground Storage Tank Act. Say no to HB 2598.

We know from the Freedom Industries tank leak that caused the WV Water Crisis what can go terribly wrong when tanks in ZCCs are overlooked. ZCCs are areas directly upstream from public drinking water intakes in which a released contaminant will reach the intake within five hours. Exempting tanks in ZCCs from regulation puts us in more danger because there is the added concern of not having enough time to respond if tank fails.

Contact members of the House Energy Committee, say no breaks for tanks in ZCCs – reject HB 2598!


Action Alert: House Judiciary to Consider Water Quality Standards
February 22, 2021 ~
WVRivers.org

Legislators will soon be voting on a proposal submitted by WVDEP related to a critical portion of West Virginia’s water quality standards called human health criteria. Human health criteria determines how much of a toxin can be in our water before it harms our health. Let Legislators know that you oppose any weakening of water quality standards!

Sadly, the proposal before the legislature allows for more chemical toxins in our water. Public health experts agree that any additional exposure to the toxic chemicals regulated by human health criteria would pose increased risks to our health. View our fact sheet on the Rule.

The water quality standards rule’s first stop as it works its way through the legislature is the House Judiciary Committee. Contact members of the committee today and ask them to make public health their #1 priority and reject any change that would weaken our water quality standards.

Also, stay tuned for more information on the status of a pending public hearing request submitted by our friends at the WV Environmental Council. As of this hour, we are still awaiting a decision from the House Judiciary Chair on the pending request. We’ll keep you posted.


Action Alert: Cancel the Mountain Valley Pipeline
February 17, 2021

The Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) is a monster fracked gas pipeline construction project that’s been threatening endangered species in West Virginia and Virginia. There are multiple lawsuits challenging the construction route and practices of the MVP. Recent financial reports reveal there is no longer an economic necessity for the MVP. Tell MVP to stop throwing good money after bad by canceling the MVP.

SIGN THE PETITION TODAY


Action Alert: Public Hearing for Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC Lambert Compressor Station
February 8, 2021 from 6:00 PM – 10:00 PM.
Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC has applied for a new source review permit to build the Lambert Compressor Station in Pittsylvania County. The Lambert Compressor Station will be located at 987 Transco Road in Chatham, Virginia (off Route 57).
 
The DEQ is hosting a virtual public hearing on the draft permit to seek public comment and to discuss the proposed facility and the permitting and public commenting processes.
 
The Hearing will end after all public comments have been received or 10:00pm whichever is earlier.
 
Register for the hearing here:
 
DEQ will accept comments from Jan. 8 to March 10, 2021.
View permit documents here:
Additional information and any updates to this notice will be published on the Public Notice section of the DEQ webpage: www.deq.virginia.gov

Action Alert: Virginia DEQ: Comments Sought through March 10, 2021 on Compressor Station for MVP Extension

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality is seeking public comments on a compressor station at the start of a natural gas pipeline in Pittsylvania County.

 

Mountain Valley Pipeline is seeking a permit to build a 29,000-horsepower facility that would provide the compression needed to move natural gas at high pressure through the pipeline, an extension of its current project.

Called MVP Southgate, the 77-mile line would start at the main pipeline’s terminus near Chatham and transport gas south into North Carolina, ending in Alamance County near Burlington.

Written public comments will be taken through March 10. The Air Pollution Control Board will then decide whether to grant a permit for a facility that would include two gas-fueled combustion turbines, five microturbines and ancillary equipment.

Learn how to comment HERE


Action Alert: Sign the petition. Demand the EPA Protect the Ohio River from Pollution.  January 2021

The Sierra Club, along with nine other environmental organizations, have filed a petition to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) calling for better protections of a local river and landmark.

Why This Matters

The Ohio River and many of its tributaries have suffered from excess nutrients in the water, also known as eutrophication, posing a severe threat to human health and the environment. The effects of eutrophication in the Ohio River have been caused by nitrogen and phosphorus pollution on multiple occasions. Pollution from these nutrients cause or contribute to dead zones in the river, greatly affecting the ability for aquatic life present there to survive. Human health effects have also been traced to nitrogen and phosphorus pollution.

The Ohio River consistently is ranked as the most polluted in the country, with an estimated 30 million pounds of toxic chemicals illegally dumped into its waters each year. Possibly most concerning, the Ohio River has seen large scale harmful algae blooms in 2015 and 2019 due to excess nutrients, both of which covered hundreds of miles according to reports from the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission. The blue-green algae present during harmful algae blooms can produce a toxin known as microcystin that’s harmful to the liver. When ingested or touched, the toxin can cause stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, numbness, and other health effects. The Ohio River provides drinking water for over 5 million individuals, and most water treatment plants lack the ability to remove the toxin from the water supply.

Sierra Club and partner organizations have submitted a petition to the Environmental Protection Agency requesting rulemaking be established under the Administrative Procedure Act for numeric water quality standards for nitrogen and phosphorus for the Ohio River and its tributaries. Additionally, the petition seeks the establishment of total maximum daily loads for nitrogen and phosphorus for the Ohio River. Action by the EPA to control nutrient pollution in the Ohio Basin is badly needed as states are not currently effectively limiting nutrient pollution through NPDES permits or TMDLs.

Take action and let the U.S. EPA know that excess nutrient pollution must be controlled on the Ohio River.

SIGN THE PETITION HERE


Action Alert: Keep the Public’s Voice Part of Public Lands Management

The latest attempt by the Trump administration to rollback environmental protections is through proposed changes to an important rule that ensures the public’s voice is heard on federal decisions affecting natural resources and public lands.

This time the rule on the chopping block is the National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA. NEPA is fundamental to ensuring the public has a seat at the table on decisions that affect our public lands.

This includes decisions on things like energy development and road and pipeline construction. Read more here.

In West Virginia, NEPA is especially important because our large amount of federal public lands – 1,130,952 acres. These special lands are in places like the Monongahela National Forest, the New River Gorge National River and the Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge. These are some of the most wild & wonderful lands in West Virginia and YOU own them.

Without the public engagement protections outlined under NEPA you could lose your voice in their management. 

Comment on the proposed rollbacks to NEPA by March 10, 2020!

Take Action


Action Alert: DEP Public Notice – APPLICATION FOR WEST VIRGINIA SOLID WASTE LANDFILL PERMIT RENEWAL – Greenbrier County – Greenbrier County Solid Waste Authority

February 28, 2020

Comment Periods ends March 10, 2020

The following has applied to the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection for a permit renewal of its solid waste landfill NPDES (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System) permit.

 

 

 

 

Applicant:  Greenbrier County Solid Waste Authority

                       P.O. Box 1664

 

 

 

                       Lewisburg, WV  24901
Application no .: SWF-2068/WV0109452

Location:  Routes 38 and 38/2 northeast of Lewisburg,                            Greenbrier County
Activity:  Class B Landfill

The applicant may receive a maximum of 5,500 tons monthly of the following types of waste:  solid waste as defined in W. Va. Code Chapter 22, Article 15, Section 2(27) and as listed in 33CSR1 Section 2.114. Wastewater treatment plant solids, non-hazardous industrial process solid wastes, and non-hazardous sludge will only be accepted after approval by the Division of Water and Waste Management.  Tires may be used in the landfill in accordance with W. Va. Code and 33 CSR5.
 
The facility is located on an unnamed tributary of the

Greenbrier  River , approximately four miles northeast of Lewisburg in Greenbrier  County .  The center of the site is 37º49’08” N latitude and 80º22’54” W longitude.  The storm water discharge points are the following:  (001) 37º49’07” N latitude and 80º22’40” W longitude; (002) 37º48’49” N latitude and 80º22’14” W longitude;
(003) 37º53’02” N latitude and 80º26’26″W  longitude; and (004) 37º48’54” N latitude and 80º22’49″W  longitude.

On the basis of review of the modification application, the Solid Waste Management Act, Chapter 22, Article 15, Sections 5(b) and 5(c); and the West Virginia Solid Waste Management Legislative Rules, Title 33CSR1, the state of

West Virginia will act on the above application.

Interested persons may submit written comments during the 30-day public comment period, which begins on February 8, 2020 and ends on  March 10, 2020  to the following address:

West Virginia
Department of Environmental Protection Division of Water and Waste Management
601 57th Street SE
Charleston , WV   25304
Attention:  Dawn Jones
 
Comments received within this time period will be considered prior to any state action on the subject application.  Correspondence should include the name, address, and telephone number of the writer, and a concise statement of the nature of the issues addressed.
 
A public hearing may be held if the state identifies a significant degree of public interest on issues relevant to the permit application.  To obtain further information concerning the subject application or to request a public hearing, interested persons may contact the Division of Water and Waste Management during the public comment period at the above address.
 
The draft permit will be on file for public review during the comment period at the DEP regional office located at

116 Industrial Drive , Oak Hill , WV   25901.  (304) 465-1919; between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. , Monday through Friday. To receive a copy of the permit application or draft permit, please contact Dawn Jones at the Division of Water and Waste Management, Solid Waste, 601 57th Street, SE , Charleston , WV.  25304 , (304) 926-0465; between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. , Monday through Friday.

 
NOTE: 
The Greenbrier County Landfill must renew their permit every 5 years.The landfill currently sits above the the Greenbrier River.The City of Lewisburg water system intake is very close downstream from the landfill. The Greenbrier River Watershed Association will be commenting and asking for a public hearing. Individuals may also comment and request a public hearing.

Action Alert: Ask Legislators to Help Identify Toxic Chemicals in Our Drinking Water

February 28, 2020

Late last week, a Senate Committee took a step towards safer drinking water with the introduction and passage of Senate Concurrent Resolution 46.
 
Our executive director, Angie Rosser, testified to the committee in support of the Resolution. You can watch video of the committee meeting, including Angie’s comments here, the discussion starts at 4:55:30PM. This Resolution requires the WVDEP and WVDHHR to identify PFAS in drinking water supplies. On Monday, 2/24, the Senate passed SCR 46 and the Resolution is now in the House Health and Human Resources Committee and must advance to passage in the House before the session ends on March 7.
 
Contact members of the committee today!Ask them to help identify toxic chemicals in our drinking water by supporting SCR 46.
While CSR 46 doesn’t include the all the provisions outlined in the Clean Drinking Water Act of 2020, it’s an important first step towards protecting our water and health from toxic PFAS which are known to cause cancer and other serious ailments.
 
The Resolution requires the WVDEP and DHHR to sample raw, or untreated, water supplies at locations across the state for the presence of PFAS. The data from the study will help regulatory agencies better protect public health and ensure the water we drink is safe.
 
ACT NOW Tell members of the House Health & Human Resources Committee to help make our drinking water safer by supporting SCR 46

 

IT IS OUR CHOICE.
MAKE THE RIGHT ONE.