Speakers Rally Against Proposed Fayette Waste Site
The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection hosted a public hearing about two proposed waste permits in Fayette County Tuesday night. All but one of about 30 people who who spoke at the hearing opposed the permit.
Danny Webb, the owner of the waste site, stayed for the first part of the hearing, but did not speak publicly.
The majority of the voices behind the podium opposed Webb’s proposed underground injection control permits, frequently to a cheering crowd. This waste site has been a dumping ground for oil and gas waste from sites in Pennsylvania, Virginia and other parts of West Virginia.
Folks representing Friends of Water, Plateau Action Network, the National Park Service and even the Fayette County Commission asked the DEP to deny this permit.
Gary Zuckett with the West Virginia Citizen Action, also opposed the permit on the record. After the meeting he pointed out that this type of oil and gas disposal is across West Virginia.
"There's one in the county that I have property in in Ritchie county, and we have problems with that well," Zuckette said. "So it's not just a Fayette County problem, it's a West Virginia problem."
In 2013, there were 54 non-commercial and 17 commercial disposal wells in the state according to the DEP.
The DEP set up large maps for those attending the hearing to inspect. There was also a court recorder off to the side available for folks who didn’t feel comfortable to speak in front of the energetic crowd.
One man, who didn’t want to give his name, said he worked for Danny Webb Construction but that he and about 25 other workers in the area are now out of work.
But it wasn’t just the company that was fielding criticism and push back, several speakers accused the DEP of failing to represent the people. Earlier this month, the Environmental Quality Board ruled that the state agency tasked with the protecting the environment in West Virginia, violated state law when it allowed Danny Webb Construction to collect waste without a permit.
The permits had expired in 2012 but was granted in 2014 then after significant public interest, was revoked. The permit the DEP is now considering would allow the company again to accept fluids from oil and gas exploration, development drilling, and production fluids for another five years. The DEP is accepting comments through May 1.