Opinion

Spill safety law update must be monitored

An editorial from The Exponent Telegram

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — It’s been well-documented that laws made in the heat of the moment aren’t always good laws.

It’s natural when people are affected by a situation that they want spontaneous action. But that often leads to overreach and potentially harmful regulation.

 That’s why proponents of rolling back aboveground tank regulations are glad to see Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin sign into law legislation that retracts some of the steps taken by the 2014 Legislature.

It’s well known that lawmakers last year dealt first-hand with the fallout from a massive chemical spill that poisoned the water for more than 300,000 residents in the Kanawha Valley.

What came from that was a law that put in place tank registration and inspections. And let’s face it, at the time, the regulations were applauded by most.

The chemical spill impacted hundreds of thousands of people for weeks. It should have never happened and some of those involved with the company responsible are facing criminal charges.

But the 2014 law also drew complaints from the oil and gas industry and even farmers, who were facing major costs for regulating tanks that aren’t even close to water sources.

It was a law that was sure to be revisited, if for no other reason than it was put together rapidly and in the heat of the situation…

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