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WV House to host public hearing on drilling

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The West Virginia House of Delegates Judiciary Committee will host a public hearing at 5 p.m. Monday about legislation that would allow permitted landfills to increase capacity in order to accept natural gas horizontal drilling cuttings and waste. 

House Bill 4411 was endorsed by the House Energy Committee last week and referred the House Judiciary Committee. Energy Chairman Delegate Kevin Craig, D-Cabell, is a sponsor of the legislation.

"Clearly the most environmentally sound approach to dispose of drill cuttings is at properly designed solid waste facilities, where the cutting deposits can most effectively disposed of and managed," Craig said. "Otherwise these cuttings are going to be disposed at the drilling sites, causing hundreds of mini-landfills being created around the state.

"It is better for the environment that these cuttings be placed in a properly managed solid waste facility."

The measure was requested by the West Virginia Division of Environmental Protection. The law would mean to accept the waste, landfills would have to either increase their capacity or build separate cells dedicated to receiving drilling waste. 

House Bill 4411 would allow the WV DEP Secretary to authorize landfills to construct and operate separate cells exclusively for drill cutting and associated drill waste, and in the meantime allow those landfills additional general capacity. 

"Regulations in place require these landfills to be double-lined and equipped with leak detection systems, as well as groundwater monitoring wells. All leachate is collected, analyzed and treated before disposal," said DEP Cabinet Secretary Randy Huffman. "From an environmental standpoint, solid waste landfills are the best option available for the disposal of drill cuttings."

The public hearing on House Bill 4411 will take place 5 p.m. Monday, Feb. 17, in the House Chamber, located on the East side of the Capitol.

To listen live, go to http://www.legis.state.wv.us/live and click on the House chamber.

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