- Associated Press - Thursday, April 9, 2015

BECKLEY, W.Va. (AP) - The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection cannot allow two underground injection wells in Fayette County to operate without a permit, a state board ruled.

The West Virginia Environmental Quality Board said the DEP violated state law when it issued a rule allowing Danny Webb Construction to continue operating the wells in Lochgelly after the agency had revoked the company’s permit.

The wells pump oil and gas drilling waste underground.

In its order, the board said “allowing Danny Webb Construction to operate without a permit is inconsistent with the law.”

“These regulations were not enacted to allow operations to fluctuate into and out of permit cycles and operate ‘by rule’ during unpermitted times. Once an operation receives a permit, it must reapply and maintain a permit thereafter,” the order states.

The order came Wednesday on an appeal of the DEP’s rule by several environmental groups and Bradley Keenan of Lochgelly, The Register-Herald (http://bit.ly/1EanI1R ) reported.

Danny Webb Construction has applied for renewal of the permits. The board gave DEP 30 days to reissue the permit. The wells must cease operations if they don’t receive a permit.

The company’s original permit was revoked on March 4, 2014, a month after it was issued. The DEP cited “procedural deficiencies” for the decision.

The appeal said the DEP’s reason was not adequate, an assertion that the board denied. While the reason was vague, the board’s order stated, “there is no law that requires the findings of fact for a revocation to be more specific than this.”

A public hearing on the company’s permit application is scheduled April 21 in the Oak Hill School auditorium in Oak Hill.

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Information from: The Register-Herald, http://www.register-herald.com

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