WV Legislature Fumbles the Ball on Landfill Bill, Does Nothing

Last week MDN asked the question, “Will WV Lawmakers Have Guts to Tackle Cuttings in Landfills Bill?” in the closing days of the WV legislative session. We now know that the answer is a resounding “no.” The proposed bill before lawmakers would have shored up, in law, the right of landfills to accept certain amounts of drilling cuttings from Marcellus and Utica Shale drilling (leftover rock and dirt). Landfills currently accept drill cuttings that exceed limits set elsewhere in law, based on a temporary directive by the Secretary of the WV DEP.

The problem with not passing a bill is that the Secretary’s authority to issue the directive (essentially a stand-in regulation until a law is passed) will, sooner or later, be challenged in court by anti-drillers with big bucks. And then a judge will decide what is properly a policy issue that should be decided legislatively. That is, lawmakers shirked their responsibility and it spells uncertainty ahead for both WV landfills and drillers…

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