Senate Energy Committee Adopts Updated Water Quality Standards Bill
The Senate Energy, Industry and Mining committee voted Tuesday evening to reinstate 60 updated human health standards into Senate Bill 167, a rules bill that outlines a state regulation limiting pollution discharges into the state’s streams and rivers.
The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) proposed the updates to the state's Water Quality Standards in a proposed rule released in July.
In November, the West Virginia Manufacturers Association asked the Legislative Rulemaking Review Committee to remove the updates.
The trade group also asked that the public be given additional opportunities to provide state-specific data and studies that might factor into how the health standards were calculated.
Following a two hour public meeting last week, DEP officials said they did not receive any new information.
At Tuesday’s committee meeting, which at times left lawmakers struggling to keep up with both the complicated rulemaking and timeline, DEP Deputy Secretary Scott Mandirola told senators the agency stood by its inclusion of the 60 updates and, by adopting them, the state’s Water Quality Standards would be based on more recent science.
The amendment to restore the updates to the 60 human health criteria was proposed by Sen. Richard Lindsay, a Democrat from Kanawha County.
The amended bill containing the rule in full was passed by the committee. It now goes to the Senate Judiciary Committee before heading to the full body for consideration.
Correction: This story was updated on 1/23/19 to reflect who proposed the amendment. It was Sen. Richard Lindsay not Sen. Glenn Jeffries.