The first required report to the Department of Environmental Protection from environmental consultants on the Freedom Industries job has been filed.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Legislation which creates a new regulatory framework for above ground storage tanks is now in place. The next step is to fill in that framework with actual regulation. The process falls to the Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection.

“I don’t intend to just write this behind closed doors and then publish it,” said DEP Secretary Randy Huffman. “Without having a pretty lengthy, detailed discussion with stakeholders from every side or every view.”

The new rules were prompted by the Jan. 9 spill of MCHM into the Elk River at Freedom Industries operations in Charleston. The contamination got into Charleston’s water treatment plant and contaminated the drinking water for 300,000 residents in a nine county area.

Huffman will start the process by writing the law and then moving forward as those impacted are given a chance to have input on the discussion.

“There’s too much interest in this,” he said.”We need to get as much of it out as we can before it goes back into the legislative process, which is what happens when the rule is submitted.”

The law does allow for one very general exemption. A business must prove they are already regulated with an equal amount of scrutiny as the new framework. Huffman doubted anybody would escape such a broad scope.

“We do this for a living and I’m not aware of anybody that is being regulated to the same stringent standards this bill requires.” he said.

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