Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Play

Latino groups say Nevada's new political maps have diluted their influence, especially in Las Vegas' Congressional District 1; and strikes that erupted in what became known as "Striketober" aren't over yet.

Play

Presidents Biden and Putin discuss the Ukrainian border in a virtual meeting; Senate reaches an agreement to raise the debt ceiling; and officials testify about closing the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay.

Play

Rural areas are promised more equity from the U.S. Agriculture Secretary while the AgrAbility program offers new help for farmers with disabilities; and Pennsylvanians for abandoned mine reclamation says infrastructure monies are long overdue.

WV Bills to Relax Water Protections Seen as “Dangerous”

Play

Monday, March 1, 2021   

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- With memories of the 2014 Elk River chemical spill still fresh, West Virginia environmental groups are pushing state lawmakers to oppose bills they say would roll back water protections.

House Bill 2598 would relax regulations in the Aboveground Storage Tank Act, passed in 2014 to beef up protections after the Elk River spill.

Gary Zuckett, executive director for the West Virginia Citizens Action Group, in a virtual public hearing about the bills, said the spill contaminated water for more than 300,000 West Virginians.

Zuckett contended the bill would reduce much-needed inspections that prevent toxic fracking fluids from leaking into tap-water intakes.

"This bill is taking us backwards," Zuckett argued. "It seeks to ease the burden on the oil and gas industry, an industry that has extracted millions and billions of dollars of wealth from West Virginia."

The bill's sponsor, Del. John Kelly, R-Wood County, said oil and gas tanks need to be inspected, but not as strictly as the current Storage Tank Act calls for.

He claimed the tanks also contain the easiest chemicals to clean up if there's a future spill. The bill is in a House committee this week.

Environmental groups say the health impacts of chemical spills should be a priority.

Angie Rosser, executive director for the West Virginia Rivers Coalition, said only small amounts of storage-tank pollutants are safe for human consumption.

She added many chemicals, such as benzene and xylenes, can lead to anemia, nervous-system damage and liver and kidney problems.

If House Bill 2598 passes, Rosser estimated about 1,000 oil and gas waste tanks across 27 counties would become unregulated.

"So why is this bill so dangerous?" Rosser asked. "One, because these tanks are sitting closest to our drinking-water intakes. Number two, they contain, we know, a mixture of very toxic chemicals that are harmful to human health. And three, if these tanks are exempt, there is essentially no oversight and leaves our drinking water at risk."

The second water-related bill, House Bill 2389, would allow the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection to ease groundwater quality standards.

The House Judiciary Committee holds a public hearing on it today at 3:00 p.m.


get more stories like this via email

BP's refinery in Whiting, IN covers 1,400 acres in northwestern Indiana, just a few miles from the Chicago loop. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

WHITING, Ind. -- International oil-and-gas producer BP will pay more than $500,000 to the federal government as part of a legal settlement over air …


Social Issues

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. -- Strikes that erupted in what became known as "Striketober" aren't over yet. After a two-day strike in October, health-care …

Social Issues

DENVER -- Women and low-income students disproportionately put their college careers on hold during the pandemic, according to a new report. Of the 1…


A proposal by Milwaukee City Alder Marina Dimitrijevic would provide 12 weeks of paid leave for new parents, regardless of their gender. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

MILWAUKEE, Wis. -- Like most of the nation, Wisconsin does not have a statewide paid parental leave policy, but in Milwaukee, a three-month paid …

Social Issues

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- With kids stuck at home early in the pandemic, a new report said child-abuse cases decreased in 2020, but children's advocates say …

The Minnesota Attorney General's Office says even when someone is facing serious financial pressure with a past-due loan, they often don't have to make snap decisions. To avoid scams, borrowers are urged to seek out free consultation. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

MINNEAPOLIS -- With forbearance protections ending during this stage of the pandemic, some struggling homeowners are sorting out their mortgage …

Social Issues

RAPID CITY, S.D. -- If South Dakota wants to turn out a thriving economy, quality affordable child care needs to be a vital component, according to a …

Social Issues

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- In a system plagued by a history of disparities, Ohio's child-welfare workers and children's advocates say it is time to reimagine …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021