LEGISLATURE COULD HAMMER STATE'S CLEAN STREAMS - Bill Reduces Protected Streams From 309 to 39


West Virginia lawmakers could strip hundreds of streams from lists of protected West Virginia waterways.

A bill has already been amended to reduce the number of protected streams from 309 to 39.

Environmental Protection Secretary Stephanie Timmermeyer said "This is just 4 percent of the state's streams, and they are the gems of West Virginia's surface waters."

"There was mis-information out there that farmers could no longer farm and that timbering could not occur and that oil and gas drilling would have to stop," said DEP spokesperson Jessica Greathouse, unless the streams were removed from the protected list.

The Senate Natural Resources Committee removed 88 percent of the streams on the protected list. DEP officials fear similar cuts could be made to the trout stream list.

Environmental groups say coal and other extraction interests are driving the proposed changes.

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