West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin plans to use his executive powers to change a state law passed earlier this year that requires stringent regulation of above-ground storage tanks (see Shale Daily, Feb. 14). The law was passed in response to a January incident in which thousands of gallons of coal-cleaning chemicals leaked from a processing facility on the Elk River. It requires the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) to inspect storage tanks annually. That rankled a number of industries, including smaller oil and gas companies. Tomblin’s administration is pushing for a system that will require strict inspection standards for tanks that hold more than 50,000 gallons, those near water supplies and those that hold hazardous materials. That will help reduce the number of tanks, such as smaller ones used by the oil and gas industry, that WVDEP will have to closely oversee. Smaller tanks will still be subject to the law, but compliance and inspections will be less extensive under Tomblin’s changes. Updated rules for larger tanks are expected in the coming weeks.
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