Listen to a streaming audio replay of January 7 WV Water Crisis one- year anniversary tele-press conference here. Read the tele-press comments by Janet Keating here, by Cathy Kunkel here and by Rebecca Roth here.
Water Unites Us! Save the Dates for January, 2015 — A Month of Water
Join the event via Facebook here.
We need your help in observing the one-year anniversary of the careless contamination of the drinking water of more than 300,000 West Virginians. We need to make sure more is done to protect water across the state. With continued citizen pressure, we assure the progress we’ve made in 2014 toward cleaner, safer water continues. Together, we can make certain all provisions of the Above Ground Storage Tank Bill are maintained during the 2015 WV Legislative Session.
Mark your calendars now and plan to join us for these events in January. Invite your friends and family to attend these events, the West Virginia Safe Water Roundtable, a coalition involving 28 organizations that have been working together to defend our water.
January 9: Elk River Chemical Leak Anniversary Events
3:00 – 5:00 p.m. Citizen Education Workshops at the Culture Center on the WV State Capitol Grounds. Get the latest updates on current water issues and how you can be involved with these workshop, sponsored primarily by the West Virginia Rivers Coalition.
5:00 – 6:00 p.m. Dinner with public officials at the Culture Center. Join us for a light dinner and hear from a few of the political leaders who have stood for water since (at least) the spill.
6:30 – 7:15 p.m. Honoring the Waters one-year anniversary candlelight vigil at the Kanawha River in front of the Capitol to mark the one-year anniversary of the MCHM chemical contamination of the drinking water of more than 300,000 West Virginians.
7:30 – 9:00 p.m. Reception and screening of Elk River Blues at the WV Culture Center Theater. This locally produced documentary film features West Virginians’ response to systemic failures that continue to threaten our water. Sponsored by the West Virginia Rivers Coalition and the Unitarian Universalist Congregation Clean Water Task Force.
The January 9 events have their own Facebook page; please join here.
January 14: Our Children, Our Future Kids and Families Day at WV Capitol. Healthy kids need clean water. Details here.
January 14: Be Visible for Clean Water at the State of the State Address
7:00 p.m. The governor will deliver the State of the State Address in the House Chamber at the State Capitol in Charleston, WV. Everyone who can make it is encouraged to attend to put the governor and legislators on notice that we expect clean, safe water to be a priority for this legislative session! Wear blue.
Update: Since tickets for the gallery are all gone, folks are meeting at 6:30 p.m. outside the main entrance to the House Chamber.
January 17: Safe Water System Leadership Training
9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. (lunch provided) at St. Marks United Methodist Church, 900 Washington St E., Charleston, WV. Register at bit.ly/WaterLeadershipTraining. This leadership training, hosted by Advocates for a Safe Water System, will inform you on what a safe water system is and how you can involve your friends and neighbors in our strategy to improve the Kanawha Valley’s water system. Join this event on Facebook here.
January 17: !Time changed to 2:00 p.m. Water Unites Us: Rally for Clean Water Statewide. Join us on the WV State Capitol steps (on the Kanawha Blvd. side of the capitol building). Come learn about the threats and what you can do to take a stand for clean water!
~Contaminated wells—Chemical spills—Acid mine drainage—Dead streams—Water table drop—Selenium—Slurry spills—Cracked wells—Leaky settlement ponds—Inadequate municipal water systems—Liquid fracking waste~
All over West Virginia, citizens are fighting for cleaner water… It’s time to band together: Join the Statewide movement for clean water because Clean Water is a Human Right! Bring your own signs!
January 17: After Rally Party/Dinner, 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. at Fireside Bar and Grill (above Little India 1604 Washington St. E.), suggested minimum donation $15. Proceeds benefit WV Water Roundtable. Visit www.awarewv.org to register.
January 21: Final day of public comment on a legislative rule required by SB 373, also known as the water bill or the above ground storage tank rule. The 90-page rule proposed by the DEP, and open for your comment, is 47 CSR 63. Read it here.
Attend a public hearing at 6 p.m. at the DEP headquarters in Kanawha City: 601 57th Street, SE
Charleston, WV, 25304.
Comments can also be emailed, by Jan. 21, to WVDEPtankrules@wv.gov. Be sure to write Aboveground Storage Tank Comments in the subject line.
January 23 – 24: Looking Forward: Summit on Chemical Safety in West Virginia
Participate in conversations about local chemical safety; Learn about successful models implemented in other states and solutions that address disproportionate impacts of chemical releases on communities of color and low-income communities. Be a part of local solutions to prevent water contamination. Sponsored by People Concerned About Chemical Safety with support from Appalachian Stewardship Foundation and the Unitarian. Register for this event here.
Please check ohvec.org/water for updates.
If you can’t make it to Charleston in January, please consider making a donation to support these events. Mark your donation “Water 2015.” Donate online at ohvec.org/join.
January 9, 2015 marks the one-year anniversary of the massive chemical leak at Freedom Industries’ tank farm along the Elk River, about a mile upstream from WV American Water’s intake pipes. Early in the day, a sickening licorice smell began wafting out of water taps and hospitals reported an influx of people with rashes, nausea and other complaints after taking baths or showers. By afternoon, the governor declared a state of emergency and some 300,000 customers of WVAW were told to stop using their water for anything but flushing commodes and putting out fires. Stores were wiped clean of bottled water. The National Guard and local nonprofit groups worked to get bottled water to people in the nine impacted counties of Central West Virginia.
Restaurants, small businesses and government buildings were forced to close. It would be days before some businesses could reopen. Several never did, having gone bankrupt. It took up to nine days before the government declared the water “safe” in homes in the region. But many doubted that declaration, and those who could afford to do so continued to purchase bottled water for months after the “all clear” had been given. Some still refuse to drink the tap water.
After the chemical spill, people mobilized for action, holding educational forums, rallies and meetings, all aimed at holding regulators and politicians accountable. In response to citizen outcry, the legislature passed Senate Bill 373, which imposes the first-ever regulation of above-ground storage tanks.
We still have much to do to make certain we restore and defend clean water for
West Virginians. Come out in January to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the chemical contamination of 300,000 West Virginia’s drinking water. Come out to safeguard our progress toward cleaner, safer water. Bring your friends and family. See you in January!