UPDATED: House and Senate Judiciary Committees considering bill to gut SB 373

A bill was introduced today to gut the 2014 Senate Bill 373 (the Aboveground Storage Tank Act) by limiting the regulations only to tanks larger than 10,000 gallons and within the “zone of critical concern” of a drinking water intake. HB 2574 also eliminates the requirement that such tanks be inspected annually. And it entirely exempts from regulation the oil and gas industry by exempting: “[d]evices that are used to store brines, crude oil, or any other fluids that are directly related to the exploration, development, stimulation, completion, or production of crude oil or natural gas”; “Pipeline facilities, including gathering lines”; and “Liquid traps, atmospheric and pressure vessels, or associated gathering lines related to oil or gas production and gathering operations”.

A few weeks ago, Downstream Strategies and the WV Rivers Coalition released a report that shows just what the impact of this bill would be. The authors analyzed the tanks registered under SB 373 and found that:

  • About 3,100 of the 47,000 registered tanks are located in a zone of critical concern. But almost half of all tanks are within 1,000 feet of surface water.
  • Approximately 3/4 of the tanks are associated with the oil & gas industry
  • 4% of the oil & gas tanks are within a zone of critical concern and another 40% (or about 14,000 tanks) are within 1,000 feet of surface water

By gutting SB 373 in the way that this bill proposes, tens of thousands of tanks would be exempted – many of which are within 1,000 feet of surface water and some of which are actually in the zone of critical concern of a drinking water intake (but belong to the oil & gas industry).

The bill was referenced only to one committee – the House Judiciary Committee – which means that the House leadership is serious about passing this bill.

This is a bipartisan bill, whose sponsors include Tim Miley – the former Speaker of the House – who is a major spokesman for the oil & gas industry. During the summer, Miley had been calling for a special session to rewrite the bill to exempt oil & gas.

This bill is likely to move quickly. Here is a list of all of the members of the House Judiciary Committee. Email them today and tell them to vote against House Bill 2574.
john.shott@wvhouse.gov, patrick.lane@wvhouse.gov, tmanchin@manchininjurylaw.com, stephen.skinner@wvhouse.gov, mike.azinger@wvhouse.gov, frank.deem@wvhouse.gov, tom.fast@wvhouse.gov, michael.folk@wvhouse.gov, geoff.foster@wvhouse.gov, roger.hanshaw@wvhouse.gov, woody.ireland@wvhouse.gov, john.mccuskey@wvhouse.gov, john@overington.com, kelli.sobonya@wvhouse.gov, amy.summers@wvhouse.gov, terry.waxman@wvhouse.gov, ryan.weld@wvhouse.gov, brad.white@wvhouse.gov, andrew.byrd@wvhouse.gov, barbaraf@wvhouse.gov, shawn.fluharty@wvhouse.gov, ken.hicks@wvhouse.gov, dana.lynch@wvhouse.gov, clif.moore@wvhouse.gov, larry.rowe@wvhouse.gov

UPDATE (2/5/15): Today this same language was introduced in the Senate as S.B. 423 – and, again, it has been single-referenced to the Judiciary Committee. Here are the email addresses of the Senate Judiciary Committee — tell them to vote “no” on Senate Bill 423.
charles.trump@wvsenate.gov, david.nohe@wvsenate.gov, bob.beach@wvsenate.gov, art.kirkendoll@wvsenate.gov, ronald.miller@wvsenate.gov, corey.palumbo@wvsenate.gov, mike.romano@wvsenate.gov, herb.snyder@wvsenate.gov, bob.williams@wvsenate.gov, mike.woelfel@wvsenate.gov, mitch.Carmichael@wvsenate.gov, ryan.ferns@wvsenate.gov, ed.gaunch@wvsenate.gov, robert.karnes@wvsenate.gov, Kent.Leonhardt@wvsenate.gov, Mark.Maynard@wvsenate.gov, jeff.mullins@wvsenate.gov

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