CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The state Department of Environmental Protection recently released the fifth edition of its State of the Environment Report.
“It’s a snapshot of as many measurements as we can realistically come up with for the health of the state’s environment; air, land and water,” state DEP Secretary Randy Huffman said.
The DEP draws no conclusions about the environment in the report but the goal is for the information to be used as a reference point in the future.
“We’re trying to take the information that we have today, regarding water quality and air quality and surface land issues, and memorialize it in a document that might allow some comparisons to be made as we go through time,” Huffman said.
The report is divided into four sections–air, water, land and energy–and is issued every three years.
Huffman said this particular report shows the environment has generally improved in West Virginia since the 1980s.
“There’s unarguable, unquestionable significant improvement that have been made to the water and the air and we’re benefiting from those today,” Huffman said.
The secretary admits measuring capabilities have advanced along with the expectations of the public when it comes to a clean environment.
“We may be concerned about levels that we couldn’t even measure in the 1980s,” he said.
Huffman said he believes the report becomes more valuable when used to compare with information in older reports and when this year’s report is used when new reports are completed in years to come.
“In the future someone could look back on these and make some assessments about where we are today and where they are in whatever time period they are in,” he said.
The DEP said the report is available online at www.dep.wv.gov. Click on “Public Information Office” under “Inside DEP” on the agency’s homepage.