Environment
5:09 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Groups Appeal Lochghelly Injection Permit

Credit Jessica Lilly / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A law office in Fayette County says the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection violated state and federal law.

The Rist Law Office in Fayetteville wants the DEP to reverse a permit for an underground injection well the DEP granted for Danny E. Webb Construction Incorporated. Residents have been concerned about this site in Lochghelly for years.  

According to court documents, the Rist Law Office is representing the Natural Resource Defense Council, the West Virginia Surface Owners' Rights Organization, the Plateau Action Network and citizen Brad Keenan.

The underground (UIC) permit was granted February 6, 2014 under the condition that the operator close an above ground pit used to collect fluids from oil and gas exploration, development drilling, and production before being injected into the underground well.  

In a letter of appeal filed earlier this week, attorney Tom Rist says the permit did not specify the closure requirements and should have been addressed before granting the permit.

The permit had expired in October 2012 but the operator continued to collect waste.

The letter says that’s against state law. Rist also says the well is already at capacity, and does not protect water quality. Rist says the permit violates the state Water Pollution Control Act and the state Groundwater Protection Act.

The DEP did not immediately return request for comment although representatives said the department was working on a response.