Pure Water

Pure, clean water is essential for life. Because water is abundant in West Virginia, we have been slow to recognize the threats to the safe water we need for drinking, for wildlife habitat and for outdoor recreation.

This came home to us in 2014 when chemicals from above-ground tanks owned by Freedom Industries leaked into the Elk River above Charleston, polluting the drinking water for 300,000 West Virginians in 9 counties.

The threats to our pure water are many, including failing municipal waste treatment plants, industrial pollution, agricultural runoff, and urban stormwater runoff.

The West Virginia Legislature has seemed reluctant to address these threats. We plan to change that.

Read the Study on the Impact of Pipeline Construction on Streams by Trout Unlimited and West Virginia Rivers»

Our Pure Water Platform

We support the passage of the Clean Drinking Water Act.

We support legislation that will create a funding mechanism from fees paid by drilling companies for both preventing and plugging abandoned or orphan gas and oil wells.

We support a new regulatory approach to pipeline construction that would require stream by stream crossing plans, enhanced best management practices on sensitive waters such as wild trout streams, and substantially increase fines for permit violations. 

2022 Pure Water Bills

HB 2132

Amending Horizontal Gas Well Control Act

This bill increases the limit of disturbance to 1500 feet from an occupied dwelling, imposes a real-time air, noise, dust and particulate monitoring obligation on the well operator, and requires consideration of the surface property's highest and best use, not actual use, when figuring compensation for reduction in value.

CWV Position: Supports

Status: Introduced 1/12/22; referred to Energy and Manufacturing Committee, then Judiciary Committee

HB 2228

Assessing the Health Impact of Any New Air of Water Rule

Requiring the Commissioner of Bureau for Public Health to conduct a public health impact assessment of any new air or water rule, or modification of an existing air or water rule, proposed by the Department of Environmental Protection. The bill also requires that the findings in the impact statement be incorporated into the proposed rule.

CWV Position:

Status: Introduced 1/12/22; referred to Health and Human Resources Committee

HB 2598

Altering Inspection Requirements for Certain Aboveground Storage Tanks

This bill exempts tanks containing brine or other fluids used in hydrocarbon production of 210 barrels or less located in the zone of critical concern nearest to drinking water intakes from inspection by the DEP. Inspection responsibility would be shifted entirely to the tank owners.

Sponsors: Chuck Horst

CWV Position: Opposes

Status: Introduced 1/12/22, referred to Energy and Manufacturing Committee; 2/10/22 committee substitute bill; 2/14/22 House floor amendment; 2/15/22 passed House and sent to Senate; introduced in Senate 2/16/22, referred to Energy, Industry and Mining Committee; tabled

HB 2725

Funding the DEP Office of Oil and Gas

The purpose of this bill is to provide stable and adequate funding to the Office of Oil and Gas of the DEP in order to oversee oil and gas wells' compliance with the law for the life of the wells. The Office currently is only funded by one-time fees generated by the applications for the permits for initial drilling of a well. It only has a reduced staff of 25 including only one inspector for every 5000 wells. The bill provides the funding by requiring an annual oversight fee of $100 for each well that is to be used for the functions of the Office of Oil and Gas with any excess to be used to plug orphaned wells.

CWV Position: Supports

Status: Introduced 1/12/22; referred to Energy Committee

HB 4054

Orphan Well Prevention Act of 2022

Requires an operator to provide plugging money escrow funds when applying for new permits or when transferring ownership of a well. No new well permit would be issued to an operator of other wells that have not been in use for 12 consecutive months unless the operator provides certain assurances or places plugging funds into escrow. Plugging money must be set aside by operators of producing wells. In order to obtain a permit to drill a new well, the driller must agree to plug all orphaned wells in the leased area that will be drained by the new drilling.

CWV Position: Supports

Status: Introduced 1/12/22; referred to Energy and Manufacturing Committee, then Judiciary

HB 4055

Clean Drinking Water Act of 2022

The bill directs the DHHR to propose maximum contaminant levels or treatment techniques for certain PFAS pollutants; creates the West Virginia PFAS Action Response Team to act as an advisory body within DEP; requires reports from facilities using certain PFAS chemicals; requires the DEP to propose updates to the numeric Public Water Supply human health criteria; and requires the Secretaries of DEP and DHHR to promulgate legislative rules.

Sponsors: John Doyle

CWV Position: Supports

Status: Introduced 1/12/22; referred to Health and Human Resources Committee, then Judiciary

HB 4098

Geothermal Energy Development

This bill creates a structure for the development of geothermal energy in West Virginia by identifying geothermal energy as a “different resource” than other mineral resources and declaring that that no mineral estate will include geothermal energy unless specifically contained in the deed. The jurisdiction over geothermal energy is placed with the DEP to develop a permitting program for geothermal drilling and exploration and rules governing the use of spent geothermal fluid.

CWV Position: Supports

Status: Introduced 1/17/22; referred to Energy and Manufacturing Committee, then to Judiciary; referred to House Judiciary 1/27/22; passed out of Judiciary to the full House 2/7/22; introduced in Senate 2/11/22, referred to Energy Industry and Mining Committee, then Judiciary 2/11/22

SB 279

DEP Rules Regarding Water Quality Standards

This bill would approve changes to the human drinking water quality standards, weakening some and strengthening others. It also changes the review process for future changes in the standards by assigning the sole approval authority to the DEP without legislative review.

CWV Position: Opposes

Status: Introduced in Senate 1/17/2022, referred to Judiciary Committee; passed Senate 1/31/22; referred to House Judiciary committee 2/1/22; passed House 2/11/22; Approved by Governor 2/21/2022

SB 56

Creating Orphan Oil and Gas Well Prevention Act

This bill would require operators to make financial assurances for plugging before a new well permit is issued and assigns responsibility as between current and former owners for plugging transferred wells that have developed leaks or have contaminated groundwater.

Sponsors: Randy Smith

CWV Position: Supports

Status: Introduced 1/12/22; referred to Energy, Industry and Mining Committee

SB 88

Altering the Definition of Above Ground Storage Tank

This bill would change the definition of above-ground storage tanks so as to permit locating tanks of 210 barrels or less containing brine or fracking fluid within the zone of critical concern immediately above a public source water intake.

CWV Position: Opposes

Status: Introduced 1/12/22; referred to Judiciary Committee