Fall Natural Resources Report

Actions Taken

1. Comments to ORSANCO, asking the agency not to weaken standards for mercury in the Ohio River.

2. Comments to the Oil and Gas Office of the WV Department of Environmental Protection regarding the reclamation of oil and gas sites. The League asked that (1) the DEP require the use of native plants for revegetation rather than the list proposed that is made up of non-native, invasive plants, and (2) that the uses of the held topsoil shall be re-spread or used as a top dressing, rather than should.

3. We joined with other WV environmental organizations on comments to the DEP on the 2010 Triennial Review of WV Water Quality Standards. Thanks to the other organizations for their preparation of the comments. Salient parts are listed here:

 We urged the DEP to draft legislation for immediate consideration by the West Virginia Legislature that will establish guidelines and a permit process for water withdrawals. Gas drilling in Marcellus Shale uses a tremendous amount of water in the fracking process.

 We supported the DEP‟s addition of the language “certain water withdrawal activities” (Sec. 3.1 and 3.2) and “algae blooms” (Sec 3.2.g.) as conditions not allowable in state waters (§47-2-3). However, we do not feel the additional language alone goes far enough to protect West Virginia streams from either water withdrawals or algae blooms. We are particularly con-cerned about water withdrawal activities associated with Marcellus Shale drilling.

 We oppose WV DEP‟s proposed changes to Section 7.2.a.2 for several reasons. It gives Weirton Steel permanent exemptions on some restrictions on its discharges in excess of drinking water criteria within one-half mile of a public water supply intake. The new language deletes all references to Weirton Steel and iron even though WS is the company that the rules would apply to. The rules should be transparent on who the exemption applies to. The WV DEP proposes to remove the requirements for Weirton Steel to monitor its treated water at its drinking water plant and to submit a status report. Was this monitoring ever conducted? We requested a copy of the written report that was due on or before March 1, 2007.

 We support the changes to the nutrient criteria for lakes although we do not support the addition of a requirement for an impairment to be determined only in the case that both phosphorus and chlorophylla exceed standards. This contradicts the stakeholders who worked on the criteria and the US EPA.

 We strongly oppose weakening the current water quality standard for iron on West Virginia‟s Category B-2 trout waters.

 We support the proposal that WV establish a standard for Total Dissolved Solids (TDS comprise inorganic salts, principally calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, bicarbonates, chlorides and sulfates and some small amounts of organic matter that are dissolved in water.) However, we support a stronger standard of 250mg/l rather than the proposed 500mg/l. The US EPA recommends the stronger standard.


October 10, 2010 is a Global Day of Action for environmentalists all over the world to address climate change. The focus is on the number 350, as in 350 parts per million of CO2, the amount that leading climate scientists say is the safe upper limit of CO2 in our atmosphere. Communities will celebrate what people can do right now to make an impact, garnering media attention for climate action, and sending a strong message to decision-makers at all levels that it’s time for them to do their job, too. For more information, access 350.org or the League of Women Voters at www.lwv.org. Click on Climate change.


Federal Judge Chambers recently ruled that two of Patriot Coal‟s mines must install a treatment system for selenium.

The US EPA set seven public hearings on its proposed rules to govern the handling and disposal of toxic coal ash from power plants.

The Obama administration issued an order to EPA to develop a Chesapeake Bay “recovery strategy.”

The EPA is studying the hydrofracking process for accessing natural gas.