Monday, March 11, 2019

W.Va. manufacturers oppose clean water measure, arguing that West Virginians are fatter and thus harder to poison

The West Virginia Manufacturers Association opposed in November a state measure to tighten water quality standards on the grounds that Mountain State residents are fatter than average and thus more resistant to poisons. Nonetheless, the state House of Delegates passed a bill that included the provision, Erin Beck reports for Community Newspaper Holdings Inc.

The state Department of Environmental Protection released a proposal last year to update about 60 water quality standards, based on recommendations made in 2015 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The measures addressed pollutants known to cause health problems, but the WVMA asked the joint rule-making committee not to implement the new standards, Beck reports.

The manufacturers argued that "the EPA encourages states to incorporate state-specific science, and that because West Virginians are heavier, their bodies can handle more pollutants, and that because they drink less water, they are less exposed to the pollutants," Beck reports. "They have commissioned a worker to gather that state-specific information."

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted last month to give the WVMA until October to gather that information and present it to the DEP, Beck reports.

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