LETTERS / Maintaining Our Water Quality

Published Monday, April 18, 2016 at 9:30 am

Dear Editor,

All of us depend on clean water and so will be interested to know that our State Legislature will be reviewing proposals from its Environmental Review Commission (ERC) during the upcoming short session.  The ERC is composed of legislators appointed to review environmental issues between sessions and recommend legislation and further studies.  Legislation recommended by the ERC would prohibit state agencies from issuing health warnings regarding a contaminant in well water or public drinking water unless it was found in excess of levels already specifically cited in federal or state drinking water standards.

Such legislation would keep our environmental and public health advocates from warning the at-risk public of any newly identified threat until it had completed the process of establishing a formal safety standard on either a permanent or interim basis.  Such processes typically have extended timelines and often have lengthy delays and extended timelines because of legal challenges from those polluting the water in the first place.

Another recommendation from the ERC would limit the ability of the Division of Water Resources to mandate the use of on-site stormwater control measures.  Both of these recommendations lead me to write to Representative Jordan and ask that he vote “no” on this proposed legislation.

There is one proposal within the ERC report that I support:  a recommendation for further study of the state’s recycling requirements for discarded computer equipment and televisions.  Further study will continue the program despite a recommendation by Department of Environmental Quality that our entire electronics recycling program be repealed, a recommendation issued on April 1—if only it had been an April Fool’s joke.

Please join me in asking your representatives to support clean water and a healthy environment for all of us.


Janet Palmer

Watauga County

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