HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) — The Sierra Club, along with nine other environmental organizations, have filed a petition to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) calling for better protections of a local river and landmark.
They are pushing to create new regulatory standards for the Ohio River.
“…to protect water quality, to protect species living in the river, to protect the safety of our drinking water, to protect our recreational use of this water.”Eric Engle, co-chair of the Executive Committee, Sierra Club, West Virginia Chapter
The groups are specifically worried about nitrogen and phosphorus going into the river due to runoff from agricultural fertilizers.
Eric Engle of the Sierra Club says having too many of those types of ‘nutrients’ in the water causes algal blooms which can have bad side effects later on down the line.
“The algae actually kind of de-oxygenates the water which can be harmful to species living in that general area.”Eric Engle, co-chair of the Executive Committee, Sierra Club, West Virginia Chapter
The Sierra Club—and the other organizations which signed on to the petition—are calling for the EPA to monitor the levels of these nutrients more closely, and set stricter guidelines for how much is allowed into the 981 mile long river which serves as the border of six states.
“One thing that we feel like has been a failure in making that progress to reduce that pollution is that the states individually have not taken action and that is why we are requesting of the EPA to get involved.”Angie Rosser, executive director, West Virginia Rivers Coalition
Angie Rosser, executive director of the West Virginia Rivers Coalition, says progress has been made in cleaning up the Ohio River since the 1970’s when the Safe Drinking Water Act was passed.
However, she says there’s still work to be done.
“Around five million people depend on the Ohio River for drinking water supplies, it has several states involved so it makes sense to take a multi-state, federal approach to a river of this size.”Angie Rosser, executive director, West Virginia Rivers Coalition
For the past four years, the Trump administration actively moved to de-regulate much of the EPA’s oversight on water quality.
The question now is whether the incoming Biden administration will reverse that course.
13 News reached out to both the Environmental Protection Agency and the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission for comment, but has not heard back.
For more information about the Sierra Club’s petition, visit this website.
For more information about the Sierra Club itself, visit this website.
For more information about the West Virginia Rivers Coalition, visit this website.
For more information on the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission, visit this website.
For more information on the Environmental Protection Agency, Region 3, visit this website.