Last year's chemical spill into the Elk River in West Virginia, coal ash spill in the Dan River near Danville, and train derailment into the James River in Lynchburg prove that accidents happen. The risks posed by toxics jeopardize the quality of our water sources and our health.
Two pending bills, SB 771 and 1071, would make it easier to identify hazardous waste sites in Virginia and strengthen state's ability to protect your water and other valuable resources.
Here are some of the bills that we are tracking in the 2015 Virginia legislative session:
Healthy Rivers are vital to protect drinking water sources and improve the quality of wildlife habitats.
In 2012, when Duke Energy’s Dan River coal-fired power plant in Eden, North Carolina was retired, many local residents may have thought that they were now free of the plant’s worst pollution. Unfortunately, plants of this type can leave a lasting pollution legacy, including coal ash waste which can remain toxic for decades. At the Dan River plant the coal ash was stored in an unlined pond on the edge of the Dan River.
In February 2014, a storm water pipe under the pond broke, draining toxic coal ash into the Dan River. By the time the pipe had been sealed a week later, 27 million gallons of slurry and 80,000 tons of coal ash had been dumped into the river, causing untold economic and environmental damage. The Dan River supplies drinking water to the town of Danville, just across the border in Virginia.
In 1983, 1987 and 2000, Maryland Governors and their counterparts in Virginia, the District of Columbia and other jurisdictions in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed signed formal agreements that set timelines for cleaning up the Bay. The most recent agreement called for deadlines that were to be met by 2010. That deadline will not be met.
Baltimore Officials Lead on Water
On September 9, while the U.S. House was voting 262-152 to block the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers from fixing the Clean Water Act so small streams and wetlands are once again protected, Baltimore took a strong stand for clean water. Baltimore City Council members voted unanimously for a resolution supporting EPA’s clean water rule.
The Council’s decisive action shows that these local officials, at least, understand that small streams and wetlands are “vital to the health of Baltimore’s drinking water,” says Clean Water Action’s Andy Galli. Once EPA’s proposal is finalized, 835 miles of streams and other surface waters flowing into the Baltimore area will benefit, along with “100 percent of Baltimore residents, who get at least some of their drinking water from sources affected by these streams,” Galli says. Read more
“[We] support the proposed Definition of “Waters of the U.S.” Under the Clean Water Act and urge the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers to finalize these important protections for our nation’s water resources,” said Mayor William D.
Council's Science-Based Vote a Water Protection Landmark
Montgomery County’s Ten Mile Creek has been called the “last best creek.” It feeds the Little Seneca Reservoir which supplies emergency drinking water for more than 4.3 million DC area residents. The creek is at the center of a pristine and sensitive natural resource area in the northern part of the county and has long been threatened by short-sighted development proposals.
The Save Ten Mile Creek Coalition together with Clean Water Action scored a major victory this April, when the Montgomery County Council voted unanimously for responsible limits on new development in area. The Council’s April 1 action thwarted developers’ latest plans, which would have paved over more than 150 acres. Read more
Clean Water Action is the nation’s largest grassroots group focused on water, energy and environmental health. Clean Water Action’s 1 million members participate in Clean Water Action’s programs for clean, water, prevention of health-threatening pollution, and creation of environmentally-safe jobs and businesses. Clean Water Action’s nonpartisan campaigns empower people to make democracy work.