September 16, 2020

Big News on the Campaign for Virginia’s Water Future

Here’s some of what’s happening with this exciting campaign for Virginia’s Water Future. Please stay informed and involved. Highlights include the following, with details shown below:

· A Platform to improve Virginia’s water protection policies

· The SUN SING in Place Concert this Thursday at 7:00 p.m., featuring our Campaign!

Platform Submitted to Water Board

Wild Virginia and 55 other groups sent a People’s Platform for Change to the Virginia State Water Control Board, on September 14, 2020. Signers include environmental and climate groups, businesses, environmental justice advocates, and others. Our strong voices are showing a way forward to a safe and sustainable water future for Virginia.

You can let the Water Control Board know you support these requests by signing this petition NOW. We need your voice to amplify our Campaign for Virginia’s Water Future! You are a key part of this campaign, as the state has duty to protect the water that matters to YOU!

Two of the actions we requested need no formal regulatory action. First, the Board just needs to tell the DEQ to enforce regulations already in place. DEQ must admit that ugly, unhealthy conditions violate water quality standards. The photos shown below are examples that DEQ has refused to admit in the recent past.

Second, they must also make sure all projects covered under state permits meet our standards. DEQ assumes routine practices protect us but they are wrong. The harm from the Mountain Valley Pipeline and other state permitted discharges prove it.

In the other actions on the petition, we state the need for new regulations. The state should start that work without further delay. We must adopt numeric water quality criteria. These are measurable goals that describe the kinds of streams we have a right to use and enjoy.

We need these requirements for some of the most common types of stream pollution. Dirt and other floating solids, measured as “turbidity,” make streams muddy or cloudy. And they blanket stream bottoms, and smother animals. Nutrients feed plants in the streams but too much of these substances cause algae “blooms.” These are explosions of growth that are unpleasant and dangerous for you and stream life.

The Board ordered DEQ to develop turbidity criteria seventeen months ago! The Department has made no substantive progress to carry out that order. Virginia is behind most other states and many tribes in adopting such requirements.

The failure to adopt nutrient criteria is also decades overdue. Scientists saw that phosphorus and nitrogen caused damage to streams many years ago. In 1972, the Clean Water Act required state standards to control harmful pollutants. Experts have since advised DEQ how to set nutrient standards. Even with this knowledge, DEQ has refused to act.

We will attend the State Water Control Board meeting next Thursday and push for these common-sense reforms. And we will pursue other changes, as long as it takes to get results.  We will keep you up to date as the Campaign continues.

DEQ has denied that this kind of nuisance algae growth interferes with stream uses. We disagree!

SUN SING Online Concert

ARTivism Virginia will hold its 9th online concert this Thursday, September 17, at 7 p.m. Check it out at SUN SING in Place on Facebook.

Along with great musicians and artists, the show features the Campaign for Virginia’s Water Future. Speakers will explain how we are holding state officials accountable. State officials have a duty to protect our waters and our communities from pollution, therefore we are seeking changes to make that a reality.

The lineup for the show includes:

  • The members of the SUN SING Collective, a stellar group of musicians who bring art to activism. They are dedicated pipeline fighters and advocates for environmental justice. You can see much more about individual member and previous performances here.
  • Shenandoah Valley stringed duo Robin and Linda Williams
  • longtime Artivism collaborator Zap McConnell
  • Batesville’s Justin Esposito and Lydia Von Briesen
  • Cville staple Jim Waive
  • Mare Eve Robbins, with an excerpt of her upcoming book “Seeing Red”
  • Sally Rose of Shagwüf

And to talk about our campaign:

  • Richard Walker of Bridging the Gap in Virginia and Friends of Buckingham
  • former State Water Control Board member Roberta Kellam
  • Four Corners Farm MVP fighter Betty Werner
  • Augusta County educator, water advocate, and farmer Bobby Whitescarver
  • David Sligh, Conservation Director, Wild Virginia

View the program at