OVEC Action Alert

Act Now: Ohio River Pollution Control Standards in Jeopardy; Upcoming Events

Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition
Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition
Action Alert
Supporting Organized Voices and
Empowered Communities Since 1987
Jul 24, 2018 View / Comment Online

Update: Here’s another letter-to-the-editor you may use to craft your own: ORSANCO needs area support

Update: Read Robin Blakeman’s op-ed: Speak up to help protect the Ohio River

ORSANCO Needs to Hear from You

Come to the hearing  (That took place July 26)
Submit comments
Write a letter to the editor (see below) 

The Ohio River is already known as the most polluted inland waterway in the country, yet it is the tap water source for five million people. Given those facts, it seems a foolish choice to relax pollution control standards in any way. However, that is exactly what may happen if the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO) implements a proposed change in the way it deals with pollution control standards. 

ORSANCO is currently accepting comments on it proposed changes. People may comment at the hearing or comment in writing

OVEC staffer Robin Blakeman and OVEC volunteer Dr. Randi Pokladnik both serve on ORSANCO’s Watershed Organizations Advisory Committee and will be attending the hearing in Cincinnati this Thursday, July 26.

To help explain what is going on and what is at stake, Robin has written two blogs; read them here and here. ORSANCO has been known to respond to public opinion, so Robin and Randi both urge you to comment by the August 20 deadline

In addition, Robin and Randi urge you to write letters to the editor (LTEs) asking others to comment. ORSANCO needs to know the public cares. See Randi’s recently published LTE, headlined “Communities need protection that ORSANCO gives,” here. Feel free to crib from her letter to write your own, or use this LTE template, below. Don’t hesitate to contact us at info@ohvec.org if you need any help on how to contact your local paper, want someone to read over your letter, have questions, etc. We really need you to make those comments and write those LTEs!

Sample 308-word LTE

Suggested title: Open Letter re: Ohio River Water Quality Standards

Dear Governor [Justice], and fellow [Huntington] residents:

Since the 1940s, the Ohio River Valley Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO) has set pollution control standards (PCS) for discharges into the Ohio River. Some of these standards go beyond what the U.S. EPA and state regulatory agencies require.

The ORSANCO Commission met in June, and decided: “To the extent that all member states are operating under programs appropriate for implementation of the federal Clean Water Act, the Commission may conclude that it need not continue the triennial review process related to the water quality criteria (and related provisions) of the PCS.”

I strongly disagree that state-level pollution control standards are adequate, for the following reasons:

1. Several states rely on ORSANCO’s uniform standards—set by representatives from all member states in the Ohio River watershed—and adopt them as their own. If ORSANCO no longer sets these standards, those states will have to expend the financial resources to develop standards.

2. If all Ohio River states have to develop their own standards, then the situation can lead to interstate conflicts when an upriver state has weaker standards that lead to increased pollution treatment costs for a downriver state. This would, inevitably, lead to litigation among the states, and problems with communication and enforcement of pollution standards.

3. Waste products and leaks from the fracking industry are causing more harmful pollutants to enter the watershed by the day, and this will get worse if the proposed Appalachian Storage Hub gets built.

All [Huntington] residents, including my family, rely upon water from the Ohio River for our tap water. I encourage all who agree with me to write comments and submit them before August 20, using the information available on the ORSANCO website: www.orsanco.org/programs/pollution-control-standards/

[Sign your name and address to the LTE, and include a phone number where the newspaper can reach you to verify the letter is yours; newspapers will not publish your street address or phone number.]

Upcoming Events and Actions

Now to July-31: #RiseTogether: No Bayou Bridge Weeks of Action
People already suffering from Cancer Alley now are under threat from a large-diameter, high-pressure pipeline; people from across the nation are banding together to help #RiseTogether.

July 25: Deadline to Comment to FERC on How to Improve its Pipeline Permitting Process 
Your own individual comments carry more weight; that said, here’s an easy e-action way to comment.

July 29: Community Informational Forum on Oil and Gas Infrastructure in Appalachian Ohio
OVEC’s Dustin White will present information on the proposed Appalachian Storage Hub/Petrochemical Complex. Ohio Environmental Council, Earthworks, and SW PA Environmental Health Project will share what they’ve learned about the Powhatan Point well pad explosion and more…

August 10: Chasing Coral Screening at WVIPL/OVEC 2nd Friday Film Night at the UU in Charleston 
This is the first of our new film-screening series, held in conjunction with WV Interfaith Power and Light.

September 8: Ohio River Rising Huntington: Part of Nationwide Rise for Climate Rallies
This is part of a nationwide day of action, and we really hope you will come to Huntington to take part!

September 15: OVEC’s Annual Meeting and Treehuggers’ Ball with keynote speaker Elizabeth Catte
This promises to be a most-excellent event; please save the date and plan on joining us.

Volunteers are always welcome to help us table at events, organize for turnout, create artwork for events, and much more. Contact info@ohvec.org if you’d like to get more active with OVEC.

Power in numbers! We always need new members, folks to renew their memberships and, of course, donations in any amount. Click the “Donate” button below to join or donate. 


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Jan 28 2022  Hoots and Hollers
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OVEC Closing Doors

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