House Approves Aboveground Storage Tank Bill


House lawmakers have approved a push to scale back a law safeguarding against chemical spills from aboveground tanks.

A January 2014 chemical spill that contaminated drinking water for 300,000 residents for days spurred the law. 
The House passed the bill 78-21 Friday to deregulate about 36,000 aboveground storage tanks.
Currently, about 48,000 tanks are registered under a law that passed during
last year’s legislative session after a coal cleaning chemical leaked into the
Elk River in Charleston.  But some lawmakers and industry groups have said
last year’s law went too far.
About 12,000 tanks within a certain distance of water supplies, or containing hazardous materials, would remain regulated under this new bill.
Inspections would be every three years, instead of annually under current law.
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has spoken in favor of scaling back the regulations.
Environmental groups have opposed reducing protections.

The bill now goes back to the senate to consider house amendments.