Member's Press Release

Release Date: 10/20/2014
Contact: Senate Majority Leader John Unger at 304-389-1866

Senator Unger ;

Unger Fights to Protect Drinking Water From Radiation

CHARLESTON, W.V. – Senate Majority Leader John Unger (D-Berkeley) will introduce a provision today to protect drinking water in West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle. This provision is the result of Marcellus Shale drilling activity that creates radioactive fracking waste.

The Legislature passed House Bill 107 during the first extraordinary session of 2014. It allows for the disposal of drill cuttings and associated drilling waste generated from well sites in commercial solid waste facilities above the monthly tonnage limits.

“Allowing radioactive drill cuttings into landfills in karst regions is unacceptable,” says Unger. “As lawmakers, we have a duty to protect our citizens and guarantee that they have access to clean drinking water.”

Majority Leader Unger’s proposed provision strengthens the protection of drinking water in counties with karst topography by prohibiting any amount of radioactive drill cuttings in landfills.

Karst topography is a landscape formed from the dissolution of soluble rocks such as limestone, dolomite, and gypsum. It is characterized by underground drainage systems with sinkholes, dolines, and caves. It is porous and exceptionally vulnerable to water contamination and pollution.

The provision will be introduced during the Legislative Rule-Making Review Committee at 5:00 p.m. If passed, it will be submitted to the full Legislature during the 2015 session.

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