Citizens say WVDEP ‘incompetent’ on slurry injection

July 15, 2009 by Ken Ward Jr.

Coalfield citizens got their say about the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection’s study of coal-slurry injection, and they didn’t hide their feelings about the agency’s efforts.

Joe Stanley, one of the representatives of the Sludge Safety Project , told members of the Legislature’s joint committee on water resources:

DEP has shown they are incompetent to regulate the injection of coal slurry.

DEP Secretary Randy Huffman, of course, has admitted that his agency’s study lacked adequate information to figure out if coal-slurry injection is polluting water supplies. Of course, agency officials permitted this practice for years without requiring the sort of information from coal operators that might be needed to answer such questions.

Also speaking for the citizens at today’s legislative interim meeting were Ben Stout of Wheeling Jesuit University and Maria Lambert from the Prenter area of Boone County. They ran through the findings of the Sludge Safety Project’s independent study of coal-slurry injection,  and urged lawmakers to take three actions:

— Support legislation to require safer coal processing and ban sludge.  We have research available on alternatives and would be happy to share that information. To put it briefly, industry estimates tell us that dry press filtration costs a dollar more per ton, and it involves a closed water loop.

 — We also ask that current injections be halted until companies complete the more rigorous application process recommended by the DEP in SCR-15. If the old application process is not sufficient to protect the public for new permits, why should we think that it is sufficient for existing ones?

— Most urgently, we ask that the committee mandate that the DHHR collect new health data for their study.

6 Responses to “Citizens say WVDEP ‘incompetent’ on slurry injection”

  1. Amy says:

    It was good to see you Ken.

  2. Amy says:

    And, aside from the condemnation of the DEP, the citizens’ presentation was one of the best grassroots type presentations I’ve seen.

  3. Jay says:

    DEP should talk to the Health Department. They have some stuff that you flush down the toilet, and if it comes out in the creek – no more poopie for you ’til you get a new septic tank.

    Of course that just works for us country people out here, not companies.

  4. […] waterways has contaminated the watersheds of American citizens and their drinking water…and no government agency did anything about it for years until the community finally fought […]

  5. […] waterways has contaminated the watersheds of American citizens and their drinking water…and no government agency did anything about it for years until the community finally fought […]

  6. One Citizen says:

    After WV DEP agency chief Randy Huffman revealed his obvious intention to forgo his mandated duty for environmental protection oversight and enforcement during his infamous testimony before the Senate, the solution should be pretty simple.

    When (and IF) the “ongoing” WVU study on slurry injection is published, I predict that there will be a real opportunity for change, unless the study was done by a bunch of corporate tools who simply are bent on “Heathering” the results. Simply firing another WV DEP puppet won’t help. There should be an imposition of a 2$ fee applied to sludge dumped within the state’s boundaries, with most going into a remediation fund and perhaps 25% applied towards a bounty for whistleblowers willing to reveal that sludge is being secretly dumped without any record, since it’s obvious that all of our state regulatory agencies are compromised.

    Given the unbelievable number of Clean Water Permit violations, one can pretty much figure that scofflaw corporations will be fudging the numbers on the tonnage of sludge dumping, if they’re not already.

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