Bipartisan support, including from Jefferson County elected officials, characterizes the introduction of the “PFAS Protection Act” in both the WV House of Delegates (bill 3189) and Senate (bill 485)
The proposed legislation would require the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to identify sources of PFAS in water sources and address sources of PFAS for certain public water systems with action plans; require facilities using PFAS chemicals to monitor and report their use; provide information disclosure provisions; require the Secretary of the DEP to propose changes to statutes and rules and to update numeric public water supply human health criteria; and require the DEP to implement permit modifications to require monitoring.
The House of Delegates voted overwhelmingly on February 24 to support this legislation (82 yea, 9 nay, 9 absent – local Delegates Clark, Espinosa, and Hardy voted for Bill 3189, Delegate Ridenour voted against). The Senate version of this bill (number 485) has 13 sponsors, inclucluding both local Senators, Barrett and Rucker. The Senate bill is currently in the Finance Committee, which is chared by Senator Eric Tarr (email@example.com)
been reported out of the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee and is currently in the Finance Committee. Both local senators – Barrett and Rucker – along with 11 others are sponsors on the Senate version of the bill.
Letters From Readers
The Observer received letters from community members about the legislation:
According to West Virginia Public Radio, PFAS “forever chemicals” have been found in 130 of the state’s drinking water supplies. The network reported that the eastern panhandle is a “PFAS ‘hot zone,’ with unsafe levels found in 21 raw water supplies.” A federal study from last year found the toxins in a third of the state water systems tested, especially along the Ohio River and in the Eastern Panhandle. These chemicals never go away naturally, and they cause a long list of serious health problems — including cancer, liver damage, decreased fertility, and increased risk of asthma and thyroid disease.
A bill in the legislature now, Senate Bill 485 (also House Bill 3189), would take some important steps to start dealing with the problem. It has strong bipartisan support and a dozen co-sponsors from both parties. We need to let our legislators know that this bill is important to the health of West Virginians!
— Charlotte Baker-Shenk (Shepherdstown) February 11, 2023
Water is Life
All cultures believe in the sanctity and necessity of water. In our state, a bipartisan effort to save our West Virginia waters from the deadly and pervasive PFAS (forever chemicals) is before our legislature. According to West Virginia Public Radio, 130 of our drinking water supplies are
impacted by PFAS. Unfortunately, my neck of the woods, the Eastern Panhandle, is a ‘hot spot’ for infected water that will make many of us sick. Even more shocking, author David Andrews, one of the authors of an article in the journal Environmental Research, reported that PFAS levels in our wild freshwater fish “often exceeded an astounding 8,000 parts per trillion.” That’s more than a hundred times the allowable limit for PFAS in drinking water.
PFAS never goes away naturally, and it causes a long list of severe health problems. It stays in the body forever, hence the name, ‘forever chemicals.’ Thankfully, Senate Bill 485, and House Bill 3189 are moving ahead and would take some critical steps to start dealing with the problem. It has strong bipartisan support and a dozen co-sponsors from both parties. Please get in touch with your representatives now and express your support. Water is Life.
— Jan Hafer (Shepherdstown) February 10, 2023By Staff Contributor