Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Natural gas action alert

The latest action alert from Chuck Wyrostock, on the front lines of WV Sierra Club's fight to keep the public's interests in the natural gas bill now being considered in the West Virginia legislature from being overwhelmed by the oil and gas industry.

For all you lovers of clean water, this is a crucial message--

Tell lawmakers, "Don't Weaken the Water Quality Standards Rule" (for your convenience, the attached version of this alert contains highlighted talking points.)

Water is Life. Keep It Clean.

The Water Quality Standards Rule (47CSR2) was passed out of the Interim Joint Legislative Rule-making Review Committee and introduced in both chambers. The Senate version is SB 122 and it has been double referenced first to Senate Natural Resources Committee, and then to Senate Judiciary. The Natural Resources Committee may consider the bill as early as this week. A variety of industry groups are strongly opposed to the new standard for "total dissolved solids" proposed in this rule. So it is important that we ask members of the committee NOT TO WEAKEN the proposed standard.

Some Background: Every three years, each state is required by the federal Clean Water Act to update its water quality standards. It's called the Triennial Review process, and it's an integral part of the Clean Water Act's attempt to ensure that state water quality standards are protective of human health and the environment. Water quality standards are basically the amounts of various pollutants that are allowed to be dumped into our rivers and streams. These standards determine just how clean - or how dirty - our water will be.

As part of the Triennial Review Process, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection has proposed changes to the state Water Quality Standards Rule (47CSR2) for consideration by the Legislature in 2011. The proposed changes were passed by the Interim Rule-Making Review Committee, and are now under consideration by the full Legislature.

For the first time, DEP is proposing a statewide water quality standard for "Total Dissolved Solids" (TDS). Dissolved solids are primarily various salts-- such as chlorides and sulfates - that are dissolved in water and are normally present in most streams. However, at high enough levels, these pollutants can be dangerous to human health and aquatic life and can make water used in drinking supplies taste and smell bad. High levels of TDS can come from a variety of sources, including coal-mining discharges and oil and gas well brine.

DEP is proposing a statewide water quality standard for total dissolved solids of 500 mg/l measured in-stream. This is stronger than Pennsylvania's standard of 500mg/l which is measured only at public water supply in-takes. However, it is twice as high as the 250mg/l that EPA recommends as the HumanHealth Standard for total dissolved solids. While we believe the stateshould adopt the stronger EPA standard, it absolutely should not adopt a weaker standard than is proposed in this rule.

Please call or email the members of the Senate Natural Resources Committee and urge them not to weaken DEP's proposed changes to the Water Quality Standards Rule (47CSR2). Legislators need to hear that their constituents want clean water.

Below is a list of Senate Natural Resources Committee members and their contact information. You can also contact (and leave messages for) members using the Toll Free phone number: 1-877-565-3447.

Thanks for your help.

Senate Natural Resources Committee Members:
William R. Laird IV -- Chair (D - Fayette) District 11 Capitol Phone: (304)357-7849E-mail: william.laird@wvsenate.gov
John Pat Fanning - Vice Chair (D - McDowell) District 6 Capitol Phone: (304)357-7867E-mail: john.fanning@wvsenate.gov
Clark S. Barnes (R - Randolph) District 15 Capitol Phone: (304) 357-7973E-mail: clark.barnes@wvsenate.gov
Robert D. Beach (D - Monongalia) District 13 Capitol Phone: (304) 357-7919E-mail: bob.beach@wvsenate.gov
Donna J. Boley (R - Pleasants) District 3 Capitol Phone: (304) 357-7905E-mail: donnaboley@suddenlink.net
Larry J. Edgell (D - Wetzel) District 2 Capitol Phone: (304) 357-7827E-mail: larry.edgell@wvsenate.gov
Douglas E. Facemire (D - Braxton) District 12 Capitol Phone: (304) 357-7845E-mail: douglas.facemire@wvsenate.gov
Karen L. Facemyer (R - Jackson) District 4 Capitol Phone: (304) 357-7855E-mail: karen.facemyer@wvsenate.gov
Mike Green (D - Raleigh) District 9Capitol Phone: (304) 357-7831E-mail: mike.green@wvsenate.gov
Walt Helmick (D - Pocahontas) District 15 Capitol Phone: (304) 357-7980E-mail: walt.helmick@wvsenate.gov
Roman Prezioso (D - Marion) District 13 Capitol Phone: (304) 357-7961E-mail: roman.prezioso@wvsenate.gov
Bob Williams (D - Taylor) District 14Capitol Phone: (304) 357-7995E-mail: bob.williams@wvsenate.gov
Mark Wills (D - Mercer) District 10Capitol Phone: (304) 357-7843E-mail: mark.wills@wvsenate.gov

If you want to send a message to all of the above, just copy and paste the following to an email "TO" field (note that phone calls or individual emails may carry more weight):
william.laird@wvsenate.gov, clark.barnes@wvsenate.gov,bob.beach@wvsenate.gov, donnaboley@suddenlink.net,larry.edgell@wvsenate.gov, douglas.facemire@wvsenate.gov,karen.facemyer@wvsenate.gov, mike.green@wvsenate.gov,walt.helmick@wvsenate.gov, roman.prezioso@wvsenate.gov,bob.williams@wvsenate.gov, mark.wills@wvsenate.gov----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Don't forget...each Wednesday is "Marcellus Day" at the Capitol (Tuesdays and Thursdays work well, too). A lobby team member from Sierra Club, WVEC,OVEC or SORO will be there to provide you with guidance and handouts and make your visit to the capitol easy and effective. Democracy is a participation sport. Meeting with your Senators and Delegate is the most effective way to get your message across. Let us know when you're coming and we'll help make your visit worthwhile.

Feb. 9th (a Wednesday...go figure) is E-Day at the Capitol, Citizen LobbyDay, 9am till 3pm with the halls filled with environmental exhibit booths.In the evening, plan to attend E-Day Benefit Dinner & Award CeremonyCharleston Women's Club, 1600 Virginia Street East 6:00pm - 9:00pm Soup &Salad Buffet, Award presentations: 7:15pm-8:00pmCost: $15 donation or $25 couple. Good food, a fine time.

Chuck Wyrostok, Sierra Club Outreach Organizer
Toll free 877 252 0257
E: wyro@appalight.com http://www.marcellus-wv.com/

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