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WV Governor Unveils West Virginia Source Water Protection Act

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Today, Governor Tomblin unveiled his bill to create the West Virginia Source Water Protection Act (WVSWPA) in response to Freedom Industries’ release of MCHM into the Elk River near downtown Charleston approximately one week ago. This legislation is intended to bolster the Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) regulatory program over industrial aboveground storage tanks located within a zone of critical concern that are capable of storing regulated materials in excess of certain thresholds established by the Secretary of the DEP to the extent that such tanks are not already subject to an individual permit under an existing regulatory program involving site-specific regulation and inspection by the DEP or otherwise exempted by statute or legislative rulemaking.

The WVSWPA defines the terms “industrial above ground storage tanks,” “zone of critical concern,” and “regulated material.” The WVSWPA also establishes additional requirements that must be undertaken by public water systems to assess hazards and plan for contingencies related to contamination of a source water supply used by a public water system caused by a release of regulated material from an industrial aboveground storage tank.

In addition to providing the framework of this regulatory program, the WVSWPA grants emergency and legislative rulemaking authority to the Secretary of the DEP in order to establish detailed aspects of the legislation and implement the regulatory scheme.

Click here to view a more detailed summary of the Governor’s proposed WVSWPA. Also, you may follow this, and other environmental issues of interest on the Steptoe & Johnson Environmental Essentials Blog.

Kurt Dettinger, Dave Flannery and Laura Goldfarb will be monitoring this legislation as it makes its way through the legislative process over the coming weeks and months.

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