After the WV Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) issued a notice on November 5, 2020 that it was authorizing the Rockwool stone wool insulation manufacturing facility in Ranson to operate under a general water pollution control permit, the Jefferson County Foundation noted that the source water protection area map submitted as part of the facility’s application process marked only 4 drinking water wells within the one mile buffer zone.
On December 16, several members of the House of Delegates, I included, held a press conference in Charleston at which we announced that we would be sponsoring a bill that would significantly improve drinking water protection.
Earlier this year, Cathy Kunkel announced her candidacy for West Virginia’s second Congressional district in the U.S. House—running as a Democrat, and, if she secures the nomination, challenging Congressman Alex Mooney (R-West Virginia) in November 2020.
On October 23, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) will hold a public hearing on Rockwool’s applications for two stormwater permits. The hearing will begin at 6pm in the Storer Ballroom of the Shepherd University Student Center and will end at 8pm. Any citizen concerned about drinking water should come to this hearing.
When Jefferson County’s municipal water customers turn on their faucets, they may not think about saving farmland or Civil War battlefields. Martin Burke, chair of the Jefferson County Historic Landmarks Commission, would like to change that.
Last month, The Observer attempted to tell the basic story behind the arrival of the Rockwool plant to Jefferson County. Now we’re taking the opportunity to allow one representative from each side to say their piece.
The 28th-Annual Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting Festival is set for February 22-25 at The Country Inn of Berkeley Springs, in the center of town. At this point, most natives in the Panhandle are well aware of the jovial, notably informative event. But what folks might not realize is how far and wide the Festival has spread in the last near-30 years.
A family film festival isn’t the first thing that comes to mind to spread the word about protecting water supplies. And that’s exactly why West Virginia Rivers Coalition sponsored the series as part of its Safe Water for West Virginia. “Most of what impacts water supply happens upstream of the intake, where the majority of county residents live and work,” said Autumn Crowe, program director for WV Rivers. “What we do on our lawns and parking lots matters, too.”
Coal is the word on everyone’s lips right now, especially in West Virginia. What began as a thriving solution for powering America so many years ago has become an unsustainable industry that has been steadily declining for several decades.
The buzzword about Congress these days is gridlock: the left and right are too far apart to get anything done, and compromise (at least among some) is now a dirty word. Yet in December, the U.S. Senate passed a major overhaul of one of America’s most outdated environmental and public health laws, the Toxic Substances Control Act. This follows House passage of a separate reform bill in June. No one can claim that the chemical spill in Charleston’s Elk River two years ago last month triggered reform. But surely, a public health disaster of such magnitude couldn’t go unnoticed, even in the tone-deaf halls of Congress.