Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Potomac Riverkeeper Appeals Decision on Clean Water Act Permit

Potomac Riverkeeper Appeals Decision on Clean Water Act Permit

Potomac Riverkeeper

Potomac Riverkeeper filed an appeal on March 14 of the Environmental Quality Board's approval of West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection's (DEP) controversial issuance of a Clean Water Act permit for the proposed North Mountain Shale quarry in Gerrardstown. Potomac Riverkeeper is concerned that the permit will allow the quarry to discharge sediment-laden water into Mill Creek, a listed trout stream. The Permit affirmed by the Board violates the Clean Water Act because DEP did not consider the characteristics of the quarry site when it set limits for sediment pollution, known as total suspended solids, in Mill Creek. The Permit also ignores State Law that requires turbidity limits for discharges to trout waters.

Mill Creek is included in the Potomac Direct Drains Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) program, which identifies existing sources of sediment in the watershed and seeks to reduce total pollution loads. "Instead of performing the site-specific analysis required by the Clean Water Act, DEP illegally relied on the TMDL Report to set a generic sediment limit for this permit," said Upper Potomac River Manager Brent Walls. "Since federal regulations do not impose nationwide sediment limits for quarries, DEP was required to conduct a site-specific analysis using their best professional judgment. They didn’t do that for North Mountain Shale's discharge permit. West Virginia clearly failed to do what is required by Federal Law, and now the quarry can muddy what is now a beautiful trout stream."

Every year, West Virginia spends resources to stock Mill Creek, a trout stream listed by DEP, with trout for recreational and spawning purposes. Highly turbid waters degrade trout habitat by clogging the spaces in gravel stream beds that are used as nurseries and increases the temperature of the water which put harmful stresses on the trout. State law requires permits for certain quarrying operations to include turbidity limits, which protect Mill Creek and other trout streams from excess sediment. "DEP completely ignored State Law that requires turbidity limits for all discharges into trout waters that protect the existing conditions for that stream," said Brent Walls. "Instead, DEP claimed that complying with the law was not practical, but that just isn’t true and doesn’t justify ignoring the law. West Virginia law requires DEP to set a turbidity limit to protect Mill Creek."

The appeal of the Environmental Quality Board’s order was filed in Kanawha County Circuit Court. Potomac Riverkeeper also recently filed an appeal on the Surface Mine Board's decision affirming DEP’s issuance of a quarry permit to North Mountain Shale in Berkeley County Circuit Court. Both appeals will result in a review of the legal conclusions reached by the Boards in their respective orders affirming the permits.

For more information, click here.

In an ad released by Republican Voters Against Trump, former coronavirus task force member Olivia Troye roasted the president for his response. Republican Voters Against Trump / YouTube

Yet another former Trump administration staffer has come out with an endorsement for former Vice President Joe Biden, this time in response to President Donald Trump's handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Climate Group

Every September for the past 11 years, non-profit the Climate Group has hosted Climate Week NYC, a chance for business, government, activist and community leaders to come together and discuss solutions to the climate crisis.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A field of sunflowers near the Mehrum coal-fired power station, wind turbines and high-voltage lines in the Peine district of Germany on Aug. 3, 2020. Julian Stratenschulte / picture alliance via Getty Images

By Elliot Douglas

The coronavirus pandemic has altered economic priorities for governments around the world. But as wildfires tear up the west coast of the United States and Europe reels after one of its hottest summers on record, tackling climate change remains at the forefront of economic policy.

Read More Show Less
Monarch butterflies in Mexico's Oyamel forest in Michoacan, Mexico after migrating from Canada. Luis Acosta / AFP / Getty Images

By D. André Green II

One of nature's epic events is underway: Monarch butterflies' fall migration. Departing from all across the United States and Canada, the butterflies travel up to 2,500 miles to cluster at the same locations in Mexico or along the Pacific Coast where their great-grandparents spent the previous winter.

Read More Show Less
The 30th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony on Sept. 17 introduced ten new Ig Nobel Prize winners, each intended to make people "laugh then think." Improbable Research / YouTube

The annual Ig Nobel prizes were awarded Thursday by the science humor magazine Annals of Improbable Research for scientific experiments that seem somewhat absurd, but are also thought-provoking. This was the 30th year the awards have been presented, but the first time they were not presented at Harvard University. Instead, they were delivered in a 75-minute pre-recorded ceremony.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch