The following is a copy of a WV Mountain Party, Environmental Justice Committee member Barbara Daniel’s testimony at the November 28, EPA hearing on repeal of the Clean Power Plan held in Charleston, WV:
West Virginia has perfect geothermal potential. But unless we develop that option to its full potential, natural gas is an integral part of power generation. In 2015, however, scientists Paulson and Tinney conducted a field study. Besides revealing extensive greenhouse gas emissions, they found that serious health impacts occur at every stage of gas development.
Gas production is further related to this hearing due to Antero’s frack-waste treatment facility in Doddridge County. Using a device called the “thermal oxidizer”, in just 8 hours, this stationary, energy-related emitter dumps more CO2 into the atmosphere than a diesel-powered tractor-trailer hauling a load 3000-miles.
Burning eleven million BTUs of gas hourly, that single thermal oxidizer alone produces 1,287 pounds of CO2 every hour. Which is over seventy percent of WV’s entire carbon footprint limit under the Clean Power Plan.
According to the WV DEP, who issued the permit, that oxidizer will burn continually for the next 25 years. So any WV Clean Power Plan “carbon trading” scheme attempting to trade CO2 from coal fired plants to develop natural gas would amount to yet another deadly loophole for the Natural Gas industry!
The WV DEP’s air quality permit also states that the Antero facility releases many unburned poisonous vapors which are usually greenhouse gases as well. Additionally it says 600 diesel-trucks are offloading heavy frack waste every day at that facility, each generating enormous amounts of toxic pollutants and carbon dioxide. Thus Antero’s frack waste operation in Doddridge County undoubtedly represents a significant, stationary source of heat-trapping gases.
Had it not been for the many generous gifts and other inducements given by the gas industry to politicians, the present fracking “war on coal“ would never have occurred. The deadly result of those inducements are gas-and-oil-field exemptions from all the seven major federal environmental laws–like the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Superfund Law–and WV has adopted the most egregious exemption of all.
By mirroring the EPA’s RCRA exemption, WV criminally classifies radioactive and toxic frack brine as “non-hazardous”. Chemicals at levels found in in this waste are known to cause such illnesses as kidney and liver disease and cancer. The radioactive portion, radium 226, which is also present in frack waste at dangerous concentrations, accumulates in our bones, causing bone cancer and more.
But because so much frack waste is created that there is no safe place for its disposal, it has been legally regarded as only “brine” and is used to deice WV roads.
From there it can spread into water supplies and homes. Worst of all, this waste is now being dumped directly into our water sources as “storm water”. By law, practically anything bearing a storm water label can contain toxic compounds which have been exempted as “non-hazardous”.
By repealing carbon rules rather than closing regulatory loopholes, politicians are only leaving the door open for huge politically powerful fracking companies like Antero to continue polluting as they choose.
Sources for most of these statements is on the WV Mountain Party website (mountainpartywv.com/dumping facts) Facts for the referenced Antero frack recycling facility are sourced directly from the WV DEP website under “Air Quality Permits.”
Barbara Daniels is an active member of the Environmental Justice Committee for the WV Mountain Party