The WV-DEP says permits for horizontal gas wells are coming in faster than they’re being processed. Secretary Randy Huffman said he has a backlog of more than 250 permits, but hopes to have it under control by the end of the summer.
The DEP has gotten more money for staff, but Huffman said he’s having trouble hiring and has added only one employee to the permitting team. Huffman said one new hire quit after less than a month and another quit before the first day. Meanwhile, 20 veteran inspectors have filed grievances over the new hiring push, arguing that the DEP wrongly created two sets of pay, hiring qualifications and job requirements.
Also, EQT of Pittsburgh, PA, is suing Doddridge County officials for revoking a flood plain permit after it spent $300,000 on the permitting process. EQT is seeking an injunction in circuit court so it can proceed with plans for 12 wells, according to The Associated Press.
WDTV-TV reported that the permit was revoked after the county’s flood plain manager realized homes and livestock were vulnerable.EQT said the county and the state Department of Environmental Protection granted permits, and the manager had no authority to revoke them. The manager also sits on the County Commission.
Landowner Joye Huff called EQT’s actions rude, stubborn and intimidating. Huff said the Federal Emergency Management Agency pointed out the potential problems and the flood plain manager had no choice but to withdraw the permit.