The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is seeking public input on what should be included in the rules related to how aboveground storage tanks are regulated.
As a requirement of the newly passed Senate Bill 373 legislation, which is known to some as “The Water Resources Protection Act,” and to others simply as “The Tank Bill,” the agency must draft rules for a new Aboveground Storage Tank Regulatory Program in time for lawmakers to consider them during the 2015 legislative session. In order to meet that deadline, the DEP will file its proposed regulations as an emergency rule this fall.
Normally, public comment is taken after rules have been drafted. However, because this program is new to the department, and because of the many interests at stake, DEP Secretary Randy Huffman decided to approach the rule-making process for the tank program a little differently.
“We would appreciate input from industry groups, experts, any member of the public with an idea about what needs to be addressed in the rules,” said Huffman. “We will consider that input as we draft the regulations.”
Ideas can be submitted to the agency via email or through the mail by May 15. The email address is WVDEPTankRules@wv.gov. Letters can be mailed to:
West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection
601 57th Street, SW
Charleston, WV 25304
Once the first draft of the regulations is ready, which is expected to occur in mid-July, additional comments from stakeholders will be considered in revising the regulations before they are filed with the Secretary of State’s office. At that time, the rules will be put out for public notice, which includes a process by which the public can submit written comments or speak out at a public hearing.
“We want this process to be as open and inclusive as possible,” Huffman said. “If you have an idea, please feel free to submit it. Your suggestions will help us achieve our goal of making these rules as thorough and as effective in safeguarding public health and the environment as possible.”
Again, the deadline to submit ideas for the first draft of the rules is May 15. The DEP asks that contact information be included in the letters or emails so that someone from the agency can call or write back with follow-up questions if necessary.