Action Alert

WVEC Action Alerts

March 8, 2004

Topic: Saving the Environmental Quality Board (EQB)

Time to contact Governor Wise! Ask him to veto SB 724 if this bill should pass.

Dear WVEC Members,

We need your help. It is time to take the next step to try and save our Environmental Quality Board (EQB).

We are asking you to contact the Governor's Office by calling:

1-888-438-2731 (toll free)

or by e-mail: 

Ask Governor Wise to veto SB 724 in the event it passes.

The Public Hearing concerning this bill went well today, however there is a huge push behind its passage, and we don't know if we will be able to stop this bill.

Remind Governor Wise of his own words:

"We also must continue to protect the quality of water in our streams and rivers to preserve them for future generations. We must reject any attempt to weaken our water quality rules." - Governor Bob Wise during the State of the State address, January 14, 2004

There is no more urgent way Governor Wise can help us protect the quality of our water right now than by vetoing this bill if it should pass.

Information and Background:

  • SB 724 is unacceptable. It proposes to eliminate the Environmental Quality Board as the agency that sets our water quality standards.
  • Senate Version, SB 724 places the process of developing West Virginia's water quality standards in the hands of the Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) with no provisions in the bill on how the process would be implemented. This would require rulemaking during 2004, so the transfer couldn't even be implemented until 2005.

Why we need to keep EQB:

  • Under current law, the Environmental Quality Board (EQB) promulgates West Virginia's water quality standards.
  • All members of the board must have "expertise in water husbandry" currently, or have advanced degrees.
  • Currently the board consists of five members, serving staggered three-year terms, so all are not appointed by the same governor - and only three can be of the same political party.
  • No board member can work for any company that gets NPDES permits from the DEP, thereby preventing conflicts of interest.
  • All deliberations and decisions are made in full public view and with full and open public notice and comment. This is superior to traditional rulemaking procedures.
  • EQB has excellent and knowledgeable technical, legal and clerical staff.
  • The board also serves an appellate function, to hear appeals of DEP permit decisions.

Thank you,

Don Garvin
WVEC Legislative Coordinator