Cabinet Secretary of the West Virginia DEP Randy Huffman presented the proposed budget to the committee, relating how the organization would deal with the governor’s 7.5 percent cut.
Huffman assured there would be no loss in personnel. However, paying the personnel a fair and competitive wage was a challenge.
Delegate Ron Walters asked how proposed water protection legislation would affect the DEP financially.
“We’re doing an inventory, right now,” Huffman said.
“We’re going to try in the next few days to get an estimate.”
Changing the subject from the budget to the chemical leak, Delegate Nancy Guthrie asked Huffman about proposed water protection legislation and the recent testimony and report from environmental consultants Downstream Strategies and when those suggestions should be incorporated. Huffman’s response was that he had not read the full report.
“When I read the first page of it I was disappointed and didn’t finish it,” Huffman said.
“It accused the state of having an anti-regulatory philosophy, that we failed and that we didn’t need any more legislation. Then, it said we do need more legislation and made some recommendations. So, I got confused about exactly what their position was.”