New Appeal to Defend Ban on Fracking Waste in Fayette County, WV

by Duane Nichols on August 19, 2016

New Appeal to Defend Ban on Fracking Waste in Fayette County, WV

From an Article by the Appalachian Mountain Advocates, August 17, 2016

Yesterday we filed an appeal to help defend Fayette County’s ban on underground injections of fracking wastes. The County passed the ban on the disposal, storage or use of oil and gas waste within its borders earlier this year. The ban would prevent injection of fracking wastes county-wide, keeping the waste from leaching into the County’s water. Despite the ban’s overwhelming public support, it has been challenged by two companies that own disposal wells.

We are representing the Fayette County Commission in appealing a June federal court ruling deeming the county’s fracking waste disposal ban invalid.

Read the Register-Herald’s full story below (here).

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 Fayette appeals federal decision on fracking waste ban

From an Article by Sarah Plummer, Beckley Register-Herald, August 17, 2016

The Fayette County Commission will appeal a June federal court ruling deeming the county’s fracking waste disposal ban invalid because such regulations are pre-empted by state and federal law.

Appalachian Mountain Advocates Senior Attorney Derek Teaney filed the notice of appeal Aug. 15.

In June, Judge John T. Copenhaver granted Pennsylvania-based petroleum company EQT Production Company’s motion for summary judgment, and the ruling was issued just hours before the hearing was scheduled.

Copenhaver ruled provisions in the ordinance that supersede state or federal permits, like those issued by the Department of Environmental Protection, and allow residents to sue violators in circuit court, are not enforceable.

Fayette County’s ordinance is rooted in state code that allows commissions to develop regulations to eliminate hazards to public health and to abate nuisances.

During past interviews with The Register-Herald, Commission President Matt Wender said the commission has increasing concerns over the health and safety of underground waste injection wells as studies conducted near one of the county’s wells operated by Danny Webb Construction shows fracking waste fluids have migrated into a nearby creek, which feeds into the New River.

In April 2016, two studies led by the U.S. Geological Survey confirmed waste from oil and gas disposal was found in surface waters and sediments near a controversial underground injection control well in Lochgelly operated by Danny Webb Construction.

One of those studies is on endocrine-disruption, which can cause adverse health effects in aquatic organisms.

These 2016 studies confirm a 2014 Duke University study near the same well which found injectate in Wolf Creek, signaling a well as a leak or breach.

EQT and Danny Webb Construction operate the only underground control injection wells in the county. Webb has also filed a suit challenging the ordinance. EQT operates 200 oil and natural gas producing wells in Fayette and one waste disposal site.

The commission is being represented pro bono by Charleston firm Appalachian Mountain Advocates and Rist Law Offices, Fayetteville.

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