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Citizens push for city ordinance to ban fracking waste disposal

FAYETTEVILLE – While acknowledging local permitting for injection wells in Fayette County is a step in the right direction, citizens want the disposal banned through a county-wide ordinance.

“We, the people here and of Fayette County, are demanding an ordinance,” said Brandon Richardson. To this date, Danny Webb Construction is operating without a permit and has polluted the soils and waters of private property owners and the state.”

Webb operates two controversial injection wells in Lochgelly, which have permit applications currently under review by the Department of Environmental Protection.

Resident Mary Rahall stated, “I love my community, and I am very concerned that it has been exposed to toxic air and water pollution for the past several years. Given the situation, I don’t trust the West Virginia DEP anymore. I am hoping that the Fayette County Commission will finally enact an ordinance to ban the disposal of toxic and radioactive hydraulic frack waste, which would prevent it from being disposed of in sediment pits, injection wells, and abandoned coal mines.”

Richardson said residents are circulating a petition asking the commission to adopt an ordinance.

“We need to address this as soon as possible. The damages have not been fully assessed. We need a high caliber ordinance to ban the dumping — the reckless mismanagement of hydraulic fracturing fluid in Fayette County — and we won’t stand for anything less,” he said.

In related news, EPA seeks to ban fracking wastewater from going to public treatment plants.

Tom Rhule said had been placed was on the commission agenda Wednesday to speak but was been removed He hoped to introduce a draft ordinance for consideration.

His draft ordinance, which can be viewed on www.mountainpartywv.com, would ban horizontal hydrofracking as a public nuisance and hazard to public safety under West Virginia Code 7-1-3kk.

Rhule called a land-use amendment passed Wednesday “a Band-Aid over a bullet wound.”

He expressed concern that it grandfathers in ongoing pollution.

“The injectate found in that well is a threat — an ongoing threat — to the waters of this state, and it is not allowed under any regulations, state or federal, to have that kind of activity,” he said. This should be the cleanest county in the state. This is the New River Gorge. We don’t need to be a sacrifice zone.”

Richardson asked for volunteers to help circulate the petition asking for a total ban of fracking waste disposal in the county. Paper petitions may be picked up or signed at Cathedral Cafe in Fayetteville.

“We urge county commission to continue doing the right thing and realize we are holding them accountable to protect our health and our environment,” Richardson said.

At past public meetings, commission members have said a committee is working on drafting a county ordinance with the greatest chance of holding up against a legal challenge, but the process will take time.

More information about the petition and fracking concerns can also be found on the public Facebook group “Fayette Co. Hazardous Waste Communication.”

This article was written by SARAH PLUMMER from The Register-Herald, Beckley, W.Va. and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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