Glynis Board Published

Lochgelly Public Hearing Set For April

Department of Environmental Protection, DEP

  The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection announced that a public hearing twice delayed because of bad weather is now scheduled for April 21,  from 6 to 8 p.m. at Oak Hill High School, located at 350 West Oyler Avenue in Fayette County.

The hearing revolves around two permit renewal applications for an underground injection control (UIC) facility near Lochgelly. DEP says public comments will be taken orally and in writing at the hearing and may be submitted in writing through May 1st.

The Backstory

Danny E. Webb Construction Inc. is the applicant looking to renew permits that would allow continued operating of two commercial class II UIC wells that accepts and injects fluids associated with oil and natural gas production. If approved, the permits will be valid for five years.

The DEP ordered Danny Webb Construction to close an above ground waste pit last year. Folks have worried for years that both the above ground waste pit and underground injection well have been leaking oil and gas waste into Wolf Creek, a tributary to the New River. It appears a researcher from Duke University now shares those concerns.

Danny Web Construction’s permit for an underground injection well expired in 2012. The DEP renewed the underground injection well, or UIC, permit in February last year under the condition that Danny Webb Construction close the above ground waste pit.

Representing the Natural Resources Defense Council, The West Virginia Surface Owners’ Rights Organization, Plateau Action Network and citizen Brad Keenan, Tom Rist with the Rist Law Office filed a letter of appeal. After ‘receiving significant public interest” the DEP revoked the permit soon after.

This past summer the Environmental Quality Board heard complaints against the DEP’s permitting process in this case. The groups point out that despite the permit expiring, and the revocation order, Danny Webb could still collect waste.

The board still hasn’t made a decision in that case and now, in light of the public hearing, it appears the DEP is moving forward in granting the permit. A public hearing is part of the permit issuance process.