WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency Monday, reiterating his support for the proposed addition of the town of Minden in Fayette County to the agency’s National Priorities List.
In the letter to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, Manchin highlighted a resolution recently passed by the West Virginia State Legislature, which Manchin said demonstrated broad bipartisan support for the designation. The addition of Minden to the National Priorities List would provide local residents with access to the EPA’s Superfund, including possible eligibility for specialized medical care and other federal aid.
Manchin’s letter noted that residents of the Minden area have shown a significantly higher rate of cancer than have other residents of Fayette County, after exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) from materials stored by Shaffer Equipment Company.
From 1970 to 1984, the company built electrical substations for the regional coal mining industry. The substations incorporated various types of transformers, capacitors, and related voltage regulation and distribution devices. Oil containing PCBs was used in the transformers and in other equipment, some of which was stored on the company’s property.
In 1984, the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources inspected the site and conducted an analysis of surface soil samples and sediment samples from a site drainage ditch. Testing of the samples indicated elevated levels of PCBs. The EPA then performed two soil removal operations over a period of six years.
In 2017, the EPA tested soil and sediment from the site and declined to take further action, concluding the site no longer posed an immediate threat to human health.