Sunday, August 1, 2021

Play

Educators' unions call for efforts to ensure in-person learning keeps students, teachers, families, and staff safe; and an update on hate crimes by state.

Play

Congress passes Capitol security funding; House Freedom Caucus members want Cheney, Kinzinger out of GOP conference; Schumer closes a deal to advance $3.5 trillion reconciliation package; and a new report says investor-owned utilities try to block rooftop solar.

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

In addition to roof repairs and other home improvements to lower utility bills, a Michigan League for Public Policy report recommends expanding utility-shutoff protections to include households with young children. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

LANSING, Mich. - High utility costs are a major burden for Michigan's low-income residents, and a new study says they have an impact on their health…


Environment

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A new report shows an effort by investor-owned utilities in the Sunshine State to block the growth of rooftop solar. The …

Health and Wellness

By Troy Pierson / Broadcast version by Mary Schuermann reporting for the Kent State-Ohio News Connection Collaboration. As marijuana becomes more …


Across the United States, 46 states have laws allowing for harsher punishment for crimes based on bias. (Ludk/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

SALT LAKE CITY - With rising numbers of people targeted in hate crimes and related violence, a new report analyzes the hate-crime laws in each state…

Social Issues

BOSTON - Educators' unions are calling on the state to support their efforts to ensure in-person learning in the fall keeps students, teachers…

According to AARP Connecticut, 47% of family caregivers have had at least one financial setback, such as having less money for retirement or savings, or cutting back on their own healthcare spending. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

HARTFORD, Conn. - In Connecticut, more than 460,000 people care for close friends or family members who can't manage on their own - and their …

Social Issues

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Millions of Americans soon could find eviction notices on their front doors, but New Mexico renters will not be among them - as …

Health and Wellness

CONCORD, N.H. - New Hampshire advocates for affordable healthcare access want Congress to lower prescription costs by allowing Medicare to negotiate …

 

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