If you think silt fences will hold back the erosion, sedimentation, and landslides caused by pipelines built on steep mountain slopes in West Virginia, think again. Last month, the WV Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) issued a cease and desist order for Energy Transfer Partner’s Rover Pipeline for completely disregarding and violating erosion sedimentation and control measures. The photo evidence tells the story of numerous violations and polluted streams.
When elected officials bow and scrape to the oil and gas industry, they often use the false rhetoric of “job killing” and “burdensome” regulations. Last week, the inappropriately-named Jim Justice, Governor of West Virginia, didn’t even bother with that smokescreen.
According to investigative coverage by the Charleston Gazette, Gov. Justice recently ordered the Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) to kill a requirement that protects residents from the noise and light caused by oil and gas operations.
Despite concluding that oil and gas development waste contain hazardous constituents, EPA exempted it from consideration as hazardous under RCRA and left its regulation to “adequate” state oversight. This report comprehensively examines that oversight, identifies causes of inadequacy, and makes recommendations for improvement.
I once worked at an office with a big sign in the employee kitchen: “Your parents don’t work here. Clean up after yourself.” Some years later when I began to visit gas drilling areas, those words often came to mind. Today, Earthworks released a report detailing the many ways that gas and oil operators—and the regulators charged with overseeing them—appear unwilling to heed this basic request.