CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The regular legislative session is not set to start until Feb. 10, but two environmental organizations have already set their goals for what they want legislators to accomplish during the 60-day period.
Angie Rosser, the executive director of the West Virginia Rivers Coalition, and Linda Frame, the president of the West Virginia Environmental Council, will be among the advocates who will have their eyes on the legislators. Both appeared recently on “MetroNews Talkline” to discuss their groups’ priorities for the session.
Rosser said the top issue is clean water access.
“We’ve had our fair share of drinking water challenges,” she noted. “I think that’s still on the top of people’s minds with the water crisis in Charleston and other places in West Virginia, and the devastating impact that can happen not just from a health perspective and an environmental perspective, but from an economic one as well.”
Rosser said the Legislature will have to debate water quality rules this year; Rosser said lawmakers should upgrade the standards to ensure protection from carcinogens and pollutants.
“Some of these standards haven’t been updated in more than three decades,” she said. “It’s past time to strengthen them.”
Frame said her group is focused on educating lawmakers about the environmental issues in the state. She said this session presents a challenge due to a wave of new members in both chambers, but she is prepared to build alliances.
“We’re facing a much different Legislature this session, and there’s going to be a lot of fresh new members,” she said. “The Environmental Council is going to do what it does every session, and that is to provide education and outreach to those new members as well as the folks who are coming back for the upcoming session.”
Frame noted water quality is also one of the West Virginia Environmental Council’s top items.
The regular legislative session will end on April 10.