Associated Press Published

Environmentalists Urge Justice to Limit Budget Session

Environmentalists are urging Gov. Jim Justice to limit the special legislative session starting Thursday to budget issues and not recently passed but conflicting legislation that would raise pollution limits.

The West Virginia Rivers Coalition and 13 other organizations say the conflicting language indicates the lack of careful scrutiny by lawmakers and that the industry-backed bills passed despite strong public opposition.

Both have been signed by Justice.

One would let industrial plants discharge cancer-causing and other chemicals based on the average flow in a waterway instead of its low flow, allowing larger discharges from individual sites.

The other would change measurements of stream health affected by mining, relying primarily on fish populations instead of insects. It would also amend the same section of law as the first bill.