House Judiciary Misses Opportunity to Safeguard Water and Protect State of WV

Late Friday afternoon, the House Judiciary committee passed a DEP rules bundle which included a version of the Surface Mine Rule that had been amended in the Senate the week before. The proposed rule (38CSR2) had gone through the rule making process, including the public comment period and was referenced in the Senate to the Energy, Industry, and Mining committee and the committee on Judiciary.

A fast and slick amendment was introduced in Senate EIM, which struck language related to “water quality standards” from a segment of the rule which deals with early bond release. This could mean that coal operators may be allowed to recoup over half of the money put up for bond before completing reclamation on their site. If the state allows early release and the water at the site doesn’t meet water quality standards, it could leave the state vulnerable for the cost of completing the clean-up.

Senator Mike Romano (D- Harrison) made an amendment in Senate Judiciary that strengthened the amended version that left Energy, Industry, and Mining. And, today, Delegates Barbara Fleischauer (D- 51) and Mike Pushkin (D- 37) offered an amendment in House Judiciary that would have added greater protection, but the amendment was voted down along party lines.

As we consider how to make this rule stronger on the floor, take a minute to email Senator Romano to thank him for strengthening the rule. And, we can thank Delegates Fleischauer and Pushkin for their valiant attempts in House Judiciary!

2 Comments

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  1. Thank you for strengthening the amended avoid expenses to the State should reclamation bonds no longer be adequate.

  2. Why is it that businesses that make money off of our natural resources are always allowed to practically steal it our from under our governments noses ? Why is that allowed to keep happening. The so-called opposing side already knows that always happens but they never seem to anticipate it happening anyway. This is a stupid way of “protecting” the environment and the people. It is not right! We need better people making decisions up there, not people that just go along with the status quo on either side and say, ” oh thats just the way it is”.

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