CHARLESTON, W.Va. — House Speaker Tim Miley (D-Harrison, 48) promises the above ground storage tank bill, a legislative response to the Jan. 9 chemical leak on the Elk River, will get a full review in the state House of Delegates.
“We just can’t afford to rush things through because you overlook things, you overlook things you should do, you do things you shouldn’t do. We also have 100 members, not 34, so we have 100 members who have their thoughts on any piece of legislation,” said Miley
On Thursday’s MetroNews “Talkline,” Miley defended the House’s decision to send the proposal the Senate approved unanimously this week, SB 373, through three House committees — House Health and Human Resources, House Judiciary and House Finance. He said each committee specializes in different provisions within the bill.
As proposed, the bill would require all above ground storage tanks, those similar to the tank that leaked crude MCHM and PPH at Freedom Industries, to be registered, meet certain standards for safety and undergo annual inspections.
Company-hired engineers would conduct the yearly inspections. However, at sites sitting less than 25 miles upstream from a treatment facility’s water intake, which was the case in Kanawha County, officials with the state Department of Environmental Protection would conduct a separate inspection each year.
Miley said the three stops for the bill, before the House floor, are not an indication the bill is buried. “Sometimes, when a bill is triple-referenced, that’s a signal there’s no hope for that bill to pass. That is not the case in this instance,” he said.
A public hearing on SB 373 is scheduled for Monday in the House of Delegates.
“There were some concerns expressed to me about the rapidity with which the bill went through the Senate. I don’t think they had a public hearing,” he said. “We want to take a very deliberative approach to things.”
Miley said his focus is on finding the best way to protect public water supplies in the future.
“This is not a Senate or House issue. This is not a Democrat or Republican issue. I truly view this as a West Virginia issue to be addressed by West Virginians who serve here from both sides of the aisle,” he said.