Cancer Creek: Cold Hard Facts

Last year, I warned you that Cancer Creek would be coming back… and here it is. It’s already passed in the House and is now moving to the Senate.

Let’s talk about what this will mean if this bill is made into law—and let’s talk hard numbers.

West Virginia Fishing: A Toxic Dose

First, let’s note that every stream in West Virginia currently has a fish consumption advisory.  Yes. EVERY STREAM. And that’s right now—even before the additional toxins would be dumped in our waters.

Do you love to fish? I do! But every stream has an advisory. Heck, the Ohio River is so bad—and I fished there a lot in my younger days—that we can safely eat just one portion of fish, once a month. That’s at BEST. Some fish are just “No! Do not eat! At all! Ever! No no no no no! Too poisonous!”

So even if you haven’t fished recently, what with life and adulting and all—just let that sink in.

Those catfish fries of your youth are gone.

Don’t think of pan frying up a mess of sunfish. It won’t matter if you finally find time to have that fishing weekend again… won’t matter if you’re ready to teach your kids how to bait a hook and go on a camping weekend ready to enjoy your catch, make memories. It doesn’t matter if it’s your own stream on your own property—you have no right to keep it clean. Sad fact is that it would just be dangerous to eat a mess of fish from our streams, any of them. Working up a good chicken liver stink bait would all be in vain. Even the crappie are crappy.

Is this what we want West Virginia to be? Of course not. We need to work to clean our waters up, not make them worse! But you can fight this. Just keep reading…

Cancer Creek by the Numbers

They don’t want you to know how much more would actually be going into the water. Notice you haven’t heard those numbers?

#CancerCreek would change the flow rate from the current “7Q10” flow rate to a “harmonic mean.” Those are technical terms, but it means that we would go from a low-flow rate to an average rate for discharge calculations, so that would permit far more to be discharged into our waters. We’re a headwaters state with many streams and rivers that either rush or trickle depending on the season.

You can check how much it would pollute your nearby river or stream by clicking on your stream on the TAGIS map. Then divide the listed “harmonic mean” by the “annual 7Q10.” Here are some examples.

How Much More Poison Could Be Released

  1. For Morgantown, #CancerCreek would mean almost 10 times as many carcinogens and other toxins released into the Monongahela River.
  2. At Charleston, that change allows a 12-fold increase in toxins dumped into the Kanawha River.
  3. In Parkersburg, it would permit 21 times more poisons to be unloaded into the Little Kanawha.
  4. For little Cairo here in Ritchie County,  38 times the number of chemicals and toxins could be discharged into the Hughes. Almost 40 times as much!!!


West Virginia waters are already so toxic that our fish are unsafe to eat.

And West Virginia already has the third highest CANCER death rate of any state.

So why would the people representing us EVER vote to increase our exposure even further, especially since we don’t get any benefit from this.  So WHY?

You’ve probably guessed it already: Money. We bear the risks and pay the costs, while these wealthy CEOs line their pockets. Your representative is representing his or her donors, not you—not your family.

The WVMA has been pushing this change on and off for 20 years. So here’s what you do: have a look at WVMA member companies, and then compare that with who is buying your representative.

Hint: they’re usually the same aggressors.

[Edit: I’ve had some folks now ask if the WVMA has taken down its members page in an attempt to hide what the members are doing. I can’t answer why the page is down, but there are a number of reasons it may have gone down temporarily that wouldn’t be purposeful. Regardless, if you can’t access the members page, you can always view members on an archived version of the page here on the Wayback Machine.]

You ready to holler?

You can fight #CancerCreek!

You can fight this, and it’s not hard—but you have to be willing to spend just a few minutes! Can you spend five minutes to call your representatives, and then two minutes to tell your friends and neighbors to call? Forward this post to them.

Are you defeated, or will you fight? Corporations are LITERALLY BANKING on the hope that you won’t notice what they’re doing to poison our kids and grandkids—they’re banking on the “low voter turnout” mentality.

Click here to call your Senators

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