CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Manufacturers Association joined other business and industry groups in providing comments supporting House Bill 2506, The West Virginia Fair Standards Act, during a public hearing held this morning in the West Virginia House of Delegates chamber. Judiciary Chairman, Del. John Shott reminded those in attendance that the bill does not change actual water quality for protection of human health.
HB 2506 brings West Virginia’s water quality standards in line with other states and what the federal government recommends, which will help the state’s manufacturers compete on a more level playing field with companies along waterways in other states.
In technical terms, the bill adopts the use of harmonic mean design flow measure for human health criteria recommended by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. It also provides for West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection-approved overlapping discharges that bring the state closer to a more balanced approach to water permitting standards in surrounding states.
West Virginia’s surrounding states and the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission use harmonic mean or less stringent measurements, she said. Adoption of the harmonic mean design flow only would apply to planned and permitted wastewater discharges and are required to comply with state and federal clean water standards.
“Given the number of vacant industrial properties throughout West Virginia, providing protective but appropriate relief for overlapping discharges can encourage the development of already existing manufacturing infrastructure and that such development can bring good-paying jobs to West Virginia,” McPhail said. “West Virginia has the lowest workforce participation rate in the country. We need good jobs that pay a livable wage. Job growth solves a lot of West Virginia’s core problems. We can adjust policies to make the state more competitive, to allow us to maximize the benefits of shale gas and other resources instead of shipping them away to other economies. If we can do this in a way that is scientifically proven safe and environmentally responsible, we would be unwise not to do it.”
She added that those opposing HB2506 are coming from a place of fear of change, and West Virginia needs to embrace new ideas so it can grow its economy.
“It isn’t scientific integrity that drives opposition to this bill, but instead, it’s a knee-jerk rejection of anything supported by industry,” McPhail said.
Read more about the position of the West Virginia Manufacturers Association here.