WV Citizens urged to contact legislative committee members; Fracking on Agenda Dec. 14th.

by admin on December 13, 2010

On Tuesday, December 14th at 2PM, a Judiciary Subcommittee of the WV Legislature will consider legislation which would begin to bring some order to the Marcellus shale gas drilling industry, order which is much needed.   Please call those representatives that serve on this committee and let them know that we are entitled to a healthy and safe environment in which to work, play and raise our families.  It’s their job to make sure that we are protected from the impacts of the Marcellus shale gas gold rush by promulgating regulation.  Guidance for how to contact those reps is in the last paragraph of this post.

There are many issues that cry out for regulation, as there is evidence of misdeeds which create public health threats.  One such issue which is addressed in this legislation is the likelihood that  frack waste water is being dumped into our streams and rivers.  Currently there is no accountability for the disposal of the millions of gallons of toxic waste fluid that are generated by this industry.  Without an audit trail of records, there is no way to know where fracking waste water is ultimately delivered, but some appears to have made its way into the Tygart River.  In October the State Journal reported that the Save The Tygart Watershed Association, a nonprofit, collected water samples which documented unhealthy spikes in conductivity in the Tygart River.  Conductivity positively correlates with Total Dissolved Solids levels.  Fracking waste water is a brine, high in salts.  Salts in water elevate the conductivity, hence the watershed group is suspicious of illegal dumping of waste water.

A partial list of provisions in this legislation:

  • No well, vertical or horizontal,  within 100 feet of watercourse, pond, or wetland
  • No hydraulic fracturing well within 2,500 feet of a waterway and within 1,00 feet of a groundwater that serves a a public water system
  • Permit may be denied based upon impact on public resources including parks, forests, gamelands, scenic rivers, listed historic sites, bodies of water including trout streams
  • Cessation of operations if conditions of imminent danger to residents are found by inspectors
  • Requirement for sediment and erosion control plans.  Requires land reclamation within 6 months of drilling completion.
  • Requirement for operator to restore or replace polluted water supply or reduction of water supply
  • Requires report of all fracking chemicals
  • Requires reports of volumes of fracking fluid volumes and volumes of fluids returned to the surface
  • Requires dual liner system with leak detection system for holding flowback water (rather than closed loop system as advocated by watershed groups)
  • A $25,000 performance bond per well
  • A water resource plan that identifies water source filed prior to water withdrawal and attempts to assure adequate downstream flow levels in source streams
  • a plan for the disposition of the wastewater, including record-keeping for water hauler information and destination

So call those legislators today, Monday 12/13,  and let them know that this legislation is a good start.  Urge them to send the legislation on to the floor of our Legislature with the endorsement of this Judiciary Committee.  A list of the members of the committee is available at this page of the West Virginia Legislature website.   Phone numbers for those legislators can be accessed by clicking on the name of the legislator in the list.   For further assistance or to get connected with fellow concerned citizens in your community,  contact Sierra Cub Outreach Coordinator Chuck Wyrostok at wyro@appalight.com.

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