WV Outpost – Lawmakers in West Virginia are tackling a major issue with the coal companies in the state, that has been affecting the resident’s and the environment for years now. It is a nasty by product that is produced from the coal industry and lawmakers are finally taking notice over the problems faced with coal slurry in the the mountain state.
Coal slurry consists of solid and liquid waste and is a by-product of the coal mining and preparation processes. Coal slurry contains a large range of constituents, including dissolved minerals that have been leached or washed out of the coal and other rocks. In addition, the slurry contains chemicals added to facilitate the washing or water re-use processes. There are over 50 hazardous chemicals found in coal slurry that are toxic to humans and the environment.
Many times the slurry is just pumped underground into abandoned mines by the coal industry, But with blasting and the shifting beneath the earth the slurry finds it’s way into drinking water. There has been several tragedies over the years where impoundments used to store the slurry have busted and caused severe damage to streams, humans and the environment. In West Virginia after hundreds of lawsuits from state residents claiming that the slurry had contaminated their drinking water and made them sick. The State DEP finally stepped in last year with a moratorium preventing new injection sites for the slurry. Now according to the Charleston Gazette:
A House-Senate study subcommittee is floating the draft bill in advance of next month’s interim meetings, with the goal of seeing it endorsed for the regular 60-day session that begins Jan. 12.
The measure targets the coal industry practice of injecting waste water from the washing process into used-up mines as a cheap way to store it. It also addresses the storage of slurry on the surface behind dams.
The bill would make the DEP moratorium part of state law. Besides blocking new well sites, it would bar renewing or modifying permits for the dozen or so existing sites.
This bill would be a good start for West Virginia in addressing one of the major environmental problems it faces with the coal industry and help to insure that it’s residents can enjoy clean drinking water free of any toxic pollution.
The measure would also seek to reward efforts that reduce the amount of slurry produced by washing coal or drying out slurry stored in above-ground impoundments. Funds invested toward these alternatives would yield up to a 50 percent credit against the coal operator’s corporate net income taxes.
To read the story from The Charleston Gazette