In 1669, French explorer La Salle called the Ohio “la belle rivière” or “the beautiful river.” It is still beautiful. And worth protecting.
In 1948, the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO) was formed. A key part of that compact agreement was the signatories’ pledge for “… faithful cooperation in the control of future pollution in and abatement of existing pollution from the rivers, streams and water in the Ohio River Basin…”
Keep Protecting the Beautiful River
We at KWA are concerned about the recent proposal by ORSANCO to end their pollution control standards program. We believe that setting baseline standards for the river is essential. KWA opposed the proposed end to ORSANCO’s pivotal role in overseeing and regulating discharges into the Ohio River. We believe that it is critical that we continue to clean the source of our drinking water and assure a safe environment in which to fish, swim, and boat.
In 2018, there were several comment periods. KWA joined our friends at the National Wildlife Federation and other organizations in the river basin to voice our concerns. Many of our members and supporters in groups all across the basin submitted comments as well. Here are links to our comment letters: Final NWF ORSANCO PCS Comments and ORSANCO supplemental PCS comments.
In the October 2018 ORSANCO meeting, the Commission deferred action. Public comment certainly prompted this decision to reconsider. The committee worked on an alternative approach that would preserve the river standards, but does allow for states to vary from them. You can read the full proposal here. On Valentine’s Day 2019, the Commission accepted the proposal. Nearly 100 people were there to comment and monitor the process, including KWA staff and supporters.
What You Can Do
- Get information from the KWA Facebook page and our weekly emails (sign up here), from public radio (WFPL, WKMS, and Ohio Valley ReSource), and on ORSANCO’s website.
- Share your stories of what the Ohio River means to you with KWA on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram. These stories provide us with specific information and inspire us when we are making our comments.
When the comment period opens, Comment! KWA will be posting instructions as they are available.
Thanks for caring about Kentucky waterways!