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Proposed Bill Would Exempt Freedom Industries Tanks From Regulations

posted Feb 5, 2015, 12:44 PM by Kathleen Tyner   [ updated Feb 6, 2015, 1:07 PM by angie wv ]
Legislation Would Cut Back Regulation to Only 90 Tanks Statewide, Analysis Finds

A bill introduced this week in both the House and Senate of the West Virginia Legislature would gut most of the water protections passed unanimously in 2014 by both chambers, according to an analysis by consulting group Downstream Strategies and the nonprofit West Virginia Rivers Coalition. The findings are presented in “Impacts of SB 423 and HB 2574 on the number of tanks regulated by the Aboveground Storage Tank Act,” an addendum to their report released in January, “Aboveground Storage Tanks in West Virginia: A Snapshot.”

“Senate Bill 373 passed with the promise that our water supplies would be protected. The fact that the Legislature is now introducing bills that exclude 99.8% of tanks is a betrayal of that promise,” said West Virginia Rivers Coalition Executive Director Angie Rosser. “We cannot accept our lawmakers turning their back on public safety and ignoring what we learned last year about the vulnerability of our water.”

Impacts of the proposed legislation include:
  • Approximately 75% of registered tanks are associated with the oil and gas industry and would be excluded.
  • All tanks outside of a zone of critical concern would be excluded. This leaves out 21,264 tanks located within 1,000 feet of a river or stream.
  • Tanks subject to less stringent standards than the Aboveground Storage Tank Act now requires would be excluded. Freedom Industries’ tanks would not have been regulated simply because a Groundwater Protection Plan was required.
  • Of the tanks that would be excluded, almost 1,100 tanks did not pass their initial inspections due January 1, 2015 and only 58% had been inspected.
“Rather than gutting the Act, I hope that legislators give serious consideration to the Aboveground Storage Tank Rule that the Department of Environmental Protection is now proposing,” said Evan Hansen, President of Downstream Strategies. “DEP is proposing stricter regulations for tanks that present the highest risk due to their location, contents, and size. This makes a lot more sense than new blanket exemptions.”

The original report and the addendum are available online at