The West Virginia Safe Water Roundtable held a news conference on Feb. 9 to raise awareness about proposals for legislation that would weaken water safety regulations in the state. This comes one year after a chemical leak contaminated drinking water for 300,000 state residents.
The proposed legislation will “weaken a new chemical tank safety law, remove stronger pollution protections for streams across the state, and protect the coal industry from enforcement actions over violations of water quality standards,” says the group.
West Virginia's Department of Environmental Protection has also proposed a bill that has receive some support in the Republican-controlled state legislature. The DEP bill would add drinking water protections to the Kanawha River, which flows through the main city of Charleston.
The state's Senate has since expressed support to remove those restrictions, as well as terminate a policy maintaining drinking water standards on all rivers and streams in West Virginia.
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Charleston is one of the largest cities in the state, as well as the state's capital, with a population of around 51,000.