Up a Creek
The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection is quietly considering a proposal that would greatly increase the amount of cancer-causing effluent that could be dumped into streams. Randy Sovic, of the DEP’s Division of Water Resources, said the proposal would give his agency more “flexibility” in writing water-pollution permits. Currently, pollution rates in West Virginia are based on the amount of water flowing in a river when it is at its lowest point; under the proposal, the state would set rates based on a river’s average flow. A decade ago, a different administration proposed a similar plan, arguing that it would help bring new businesses and jobs into the state. Environmentalists and labor unions fought the measure, dubbing it the “Cancer Creek” plan.