Unger introduces bill protecting WV waterways - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Sen. Unger introduces bill protecting WV waterways

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The West Virginia Senate introduced 16 bills during its floor session Jan. 16.

Senate Majority Leader John Unger, D-Berkeley, introduced Senate Bill 373 - Incorporating State Water Resources Management Plan into the Water Resources Protection Management Act.

This bill would allow the Department of Environmental Protection to register and inspect above-ground storage facilities.

"This will protect the water in regards to any kind of chemicals or other types of liquids that could end up in our water resources," Unger said. "To make sure that what happened last week (Jan. 9) will never happen again anywhere in West Virginia."

Unger said the protections in his proposed bill are not only for surface water inspections but groundwater.

"We want to ensure that every West Virginia resident has access to clean drinking water, and that as lawmakers we are doing everything possible to safeguard the safety of our water resources," Unger said.

The bill was double referenced to the Senate Natural Resources and Judiciary committees on Jan. 16.

Also during Thursday's session, legislators recognized the Star City Interchange in Morgantown be named the "Michael A. Oliverio, Sr., Interchange."

Oliverio was a state senator for the 13th District from 1995 to 2011 and the 2010 Democratic nominee for U.S. Representative for West Virginia's first congressional district. He previously served in the West Virginia House of Delegates and U.S. Army.

Sen. Herb Snyder, D-Jefferson, discussed the importance of his bill introduced as Senate Bill 368. The bill was introduced in the senate Jan. 16 and assigned to the committee on Judiciary. SB 368 repeals an article of the West Virginia code on unfair trade practices.

Snyder said the bill is important because the code has not been updated since the 1930s, to reflect larger retailers and gasoline distributors throughout the state.

Snyder said those in the industry describe the details as "complex and complicated," but the article needs revised to reflect modern times.

Snyder said there have been lawsuits filed because of the article as recently as 25 years ago, and the law is helping larger retailers and gas sellers beat smaller stores.

"It's time for us to repeal this law, not just the eastern panhandle," he said. "It's hurt the citizens of this state for about 25 years."

"Imagine that novel concept - selling their gas cheaper"

Also during the session, SB 278, which would define scrap metal, advanced to a second reading.