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HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 111

(By Delegates Butcher, Cann, Givens, Manchin and Shott )


[Introduced March 10, 2010.]


Urging the United States Environmental Protection Agency to interpret the West Virginia Water Pollution Act in the manner that will faithfully balance the protection of the environment with the need to maintain and expand opportunities for employment, agriculture and industry as set forth in the Legislature's statement of public policy as contained in the West Virginia Water Pollution Control Act.

Whereas, In enacting the Federal Water Pollution Control Act Congress declared that "it is the policy of Congress to recognize, preserve and protect the primary responsibilities and rights of States to prevent, reduce, and eliminate pollution, to plan the development and use of land and water resources?." ; and
Whereas , As an exercise of its sovereign and primary right to plan the development and use of its lands and water resources the West Virginia Legislature previously enacted Chapter 22 Article 11 of the 1931 Code of West Virginia as amended, the West Virginia Water Pollution Control Act, and in that enactment declared it to be "the public policy of the State of West Virginia to maintain reasonable standards of purity and quality of the water of the state consistent with (1) public health and enjoyment thereof; (2) the propagation and protection of animal, bird, fish, aquatic and plant life; and (3) the expansion of employment opportunities, maintenance and expansion of agriculture and the provision of a permanent foundation for healthy industrial development."; and
Whereas , The State of West Virginia has developed and implemented environmental protection performance and permitting standards to adequately protect the waters of the State consistent with this statement of public policy; and
Whereas , Such standards have been promulgated by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection and the Legislature and submitted to and approved by the United States Environmental Protection Agency pursuant to the federal Clean Water Act; and
Whereas , These environmental protections and permitting measures include narrative water quality standards codified at 47 CSR 2-3; and
Whereas, West Virginia's narrative standards must be implemented and interpreted in a manner that is protective of aquatic communities consistent with the Legislature's statement of public policy and applicable laws; and
Whereas, The State of West Virginia has not adopted subcategories of special use to protect a certain species of mayfly but protects the aquatic community consistent with the Legislature's statement of public policy; and
Whereas, West Virginia's economic stability relies on the accurate implementation of applicable laws as enacted by the Legislature; and
Whereas, The current method in which the United States Environmental Protection Agency is interpreting the West Virginia Water Pollution Control Act is hindering economic development within the state which directly affects the employment opportunities available to all West Virginians; and
Whereas, The West Virginia Legislature would not enact legislation that would have a detrimental effect on the industrial progression of the state and cause or contribute to environmental degredation; therefore, be it
Resolved by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That any interpretation and implementation of West Virginia's narrative water quality standards is the responsibility of the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection; and, be it
Further Resolved , That the requirements of the narrative criteria are met, when a stream (a) supports a balanced aquatic community that is diverse in species composition; and (b) contains appropriate trophic levels of fish (in streams with sufficient flows to support fish populations); and (c)the aquatic community is not composed only of pollution tolerant species, or the aquatic community is composed of benthic invertebrate assemblages sufficient to perform the biological functions necessary to support fish communities within the assessed reach (or, if the assessed reach has insufficient flows to support a fish community, in those downstream reaches where fish are present); and, be it
Further Resolved, That interpretation of West Virginia's narrative water quality standards must faithfully balance the protection of the environment with the need to maintain and expand opportunities for employment, agriculture and industry as set forth in the Legislature's statement of public policy as contained in the West Virginia Water Pollution Control Act; and, be it
Further Resolved, That the West Virginia Legislature encourages the United States Environment Protection Agency to change their current interpretation of the West Virginia Water Pollution Control Act to include the intent of the 72nd and subsequent Legislatures; and be it
Further Resolved
, That the Clerk of the House of Delegates forward a certified copy of this resolution to the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the Huntington District of the United States Army Corps of Engineers, and other appropriate state and federal agencies.
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