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Spill Bill

Although she was not a sponsor, Delegate Fleischauer spent more time on SB 373 than any other legislation during the 2014 session. She served on two of the three House committees to which it was referred. Passed in response to a coal-washing chemical spill in the Kanawha Valley that affected over 300,000 West Virginians, including all of the legislators who were in session at the time, the bill was designed to prevent future threats to drinking water supplies. SB 373 required inspection and registration of all above-ground storage tanks in the state, and that special attention be paid to potential contaminants in zones of critical concern on rivers and tributaries near water intakes. Public involvement in water protection plans to prevent future spills was mandated. Further, the bill required that there be a study of spill health effects and increased fines for violations. Industry representatives, particularly from the oil and gas industry, complained loudly about the inspection requirements and other mandates. In the 2015 session, with Republican majorities in both Houses, they were successful in convincing the Legislature to dramatically reduce the number of tanks that would be affected by the law. SB 423 included several other changes that lessened the stringency of the legislation.

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