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
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.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
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
July 25: Deadline to Comment to FERC on How to Improve its Pipeline Permitting Process
July 29: Community Informational Forum on Oil and Gas Infrastructure in Appalachian Ohio
August 10: Chasing Coral Screening at WVIPL/OVEC 2nd Friday Film Night at the UU in Charleston
September 8: Ohio River Rising Huntington: Part of Nationwide Rise for Climate Rallies
September 15: OVEC’s Annual Meeting and Treehuggers’ Ball with keynote speaker Elizabeth Catte
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