Tomorrow there will be an important vote to determine the future of clean water protections for the Ohio River. Commissioners from all nine border states will be leading the vote in Covington, Kentucky.

Representatives from all nine states bordering the Ohio River will gather in Covington, Thursday to vote to weaken clean water protections for the Ohio. The meeting will consist of commissioners representing Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Virginia, New York, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. Representatives will be appointed by the governors of each state. If passed, the proposal will make pollution standards voluntary.

Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin has appointed Lieutenant Governor Jenean Hampton, Charles Snavely of Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet, and C. Ronald Lovan, president and chief executive of the Northern Kentucky Water District, as Kentucky's commissioners to vote.

In an interview with the Public News Service, Gail Hesse, the Great Lakes Water Program Director for the National Wildlife Foundation, believes now is not the time to be retreating from standards. "Despite the gains that we've seen over the course of the last 40 years of Clean Water Act program implementation, we still have challenges that we need to address."

Hesse says the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission has not yet responded to the thousands of public comments they've received regarding the proposed changes. "We really don't know or understand the thinking of the commissioners behind the proposal." she told Public News Service.

The Ohio River is the main source of drinking water for over five million people. The vote will be Thursday.