Fayette County Injection Wells at Lochgelly (WV) Stir Controversy
Action Alert Letter of Tom Rhule, Communications Director, WV Mountain Party, May 22, 2015
On May 14th the WV Environmental Quality Board “EQB” decided to allow Danny Webb Construction continue dumping hydro fracking waste at that Fayette County site without a permit. This is alarming.
It is also disturbing that the WV Dept. of Environmental Protection “WV-DEP” has never cited this operator nor ordered remediation, considering that a Duke University scientist found undisputed evidence of this waste in nearby Wolf Creek. But what is most alarming, is that as far as anyone can tell, that site is still leaking fracking-related toxins and dangerously high radioactivity.
When it comes to industrial dumping, the WV-DEP has never failed to live up to its reputation as the Department of Everything Permitted, especially when backed by the governor-appointed EQB and all the Friends of Cancer who pull the strings in the Statehouse. By the way, there are literally over a thousand industrial waste injection wells strewn all over the State.
So the good citizens of Fayette county have basically been left to their own defenses. And although on May 18, the Fayette County Zoning Board recommended that the County Commission regulate future injection wells through a stringent permitting process, unfortunately that plan will not stop Danny Webb Construction, nor any other currently operating injection site from polluting the county’s waters.
This has been a real problem for quite some time. The West Virginia American Water 2011 Source Water Assessment and Protection Plan for Fayette District PWSID WV330L046 clearly states that “hydrofracking fluid is being injected into abandoned mines.” In fact, page 7 of that Plan lists the dumping of frack waste into abandoned mines, as one of the highest priorities with respect to water contamination. And that was 4 years ago.
Once again, the County Commission’s current zoning recommendation fails to ban it.
The petition that we are circulating urges the Fayette County Commission to immediately pass an ordinance that will make it illegal to dump frack waste and coal slurry anywhere within the county. Passing that ordinance will tell the world that Fayette County is not a sacrifice zone. But it’s going to take your support to make that happen.
On Wednesday, May 27th, at 9:00 am, the Fayette County Commission will hold its regularly-scheduled meeting. On the agenda is the Zoning Committee’s recommendation, where I intend to introduce the ordinance to ban industrial waste dumping outright. Scheduled at the Fayette County Courthouse and open to the public, your showing up to support the passage of an outright ban will be empowering.
If you haven’t already signed the petition now going door-to-door urging the Fayette County Commission to ban industrial waste dumping, there is a copy at the Cathedral Cafe in Fayetteville. Or, you may endorse a digital petition online at mountainpartywv.com by clicking on the orange-colored YODO – You Only Die Once – button. Accuracy counts, so only one signature per citizen, please!
Citizen activists Tom Rhule of the Mountain Party and Brandon Richardson of Friends of Water will hold a press conference immediately Commission’s meeting on May 27th outside the Courthouse to answer questions and provide details about the petition drive and proposed ordinance.
Tom Rhule, Communication Director, Mountain Party of WV
Note: See also the Fact Sheet from the WV-DEP on the two Lochgelly injection wells.