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GOP VP Nominee Vance calls Republicans champions of the middle class; President Biden is isolating with Covid while sources say Schumer privately urged Biden to step aside in the 2024 election: NY bill addresses monopolies, anti-trust loopholes; ACLU of Alabama launches Project MOVE to boost voter turnout.

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Ohio Sen. JD Vance makes an 'America First' VP nomination acceptance speech. Tough national security talk papers over GOP complexities on foreign policy. Sen. Bob Menendez resigns and President Biden catches COVID.

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It's grass-cutting season and with it, rural lawn mower races, Montana's drive-thru blood project is easing shortages, rural Americans spend more on food when transportation costs are tallied, and a lack of good childcare is thwarting rural business owners.

Vote Could Create Loopholes in Ohio River Protections

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Monday, October 1, 2018   

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A vote this week will determine if West Virginia and seven other states will lose some pollution-control standards for the Ohio River.

The eight watershed states and the federal government belong to the Ohio River Sanitation Commission. ORSANCO sets uniform pollution standards for the 1,000-mile river, from Pittsburgh to the Mississippi.

On Thursday, commissioners will vote on a plan to scrap their rules and allow state and federal standards to take precedence. Gail Hesse, director of the Great Lakes Water Program at the National Wildlife Federation, said that would have a big impact on communities.

"In cities like Cincinnati, they've just made an enormous investment in their waterfront properties,” Hesse said. “And turning the clock back - Ohio could have one set of standards for its section of the river, but just across the river on the other side, Kentucky could have a completely different set of standards - is a bad idea."

Those in favor of the proposed change say each of the states has its own water quality standards, making ORSANCO redundant. The Ohio River is the source of drinking water for 5 million people.

Angie Rosser, executive director with the West Virginia Rivers Coalition is also a member of ORSANCO's Watershed Organization Advisory Committee. She said ORSANCO was created specifically because someone needed to oversee pollution controls for the entire river system. She added the plan to end that oversight is very unpopular, judging from public comments.

"Hundreds and hundreds of comments, and just a handful supporting the change,” Rosser said. “There are facilities, industrial facilities up and down the river, being able to discharge higher levels of pollution, relieving them of treatment costs."

Those in favor of keeping the rules as they are say ORSANCO helps the member states - where environmental agencies are often understaffed - by assessing pollution risks and setting control standards. And individual states may be unprepared to take over those jobs.


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