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West Virginia Drops Drinking Water Protections

On Nov. 26, a West Virginia legislative committee accepted an industry group’s last-minute amendment to state drinking water standards dictating safe pollutant levels.

Instead of updating state rules to be consistent with federal standards set in 2015, state regulators will continue using 1980’s-era rules unless lawmakers change them. Hundreds of residents requested improved water protections during the summer 2018 comment period. A vote on the final rules is expected in early 2019.

The West Virginia Manufacturers Association argued that the federal standards could hurt industry and needed more scientific study. But Del. Barbara Fleischauer, one of two committee members to vote against the change, called the move “outrageous” and said that new standards are years overdue.

“To move in this direction is ignoring science,” Del. Fleischauer said during the committee meeting. — By Kevin Ridder

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