In previous articles I have discussed the ongoing process by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) to develop a West Virginia Voluntary Land Stewardship Program (VLSP) in West Virginia. The WVDEP envisions that the VLSP would be a “comprehensive integrated system for implementing, monitoring, tracking, and protecting institutional and engineering controls” at formerly environmentally contaminated sites that have been closed under either State or Federal programs in West Virginia.
In early 2009, the WVDEP established a stakeholders group, which is referred to as the Institutional Controls (IC) Work Group, to assist it in this process. The IC Work Group consists of various stakeholders from trade associations, industry, and government, which has been working with the WVDEP and its contractors. The most recent meeting of the IC Work Group with the WVDEP and its contractors was on January 27, 2010. This was the sixth meeting of the IC Work Group since its inception. As the representative of the WV Coal Association on the IC Work Group, I think it is safe to say that the WVDEP and the IC Working Group have made significant progress in a number of areas, which include:
· Developed the overall administrative structure of a VLSP.
· Developed various draft documents that would be used by a VLSP.
· Identified the range of services that the VLSP could offer to an entity (public or private) that has entered a site into the VLSP (e.g., operation and maintenance of remediation systems, environmental monitoring, reporting to WVDEP).
· Evaluated the advantages and disadvantages of creating a 501(C)3 or 501(C)4 non-profit corporation versus a for-profit corporation to operate the fiduciary “Trust” that would be established to manage the dollars paid into the VLSP to perform the operations, maintenance, and tracking functions required under the site closure documents.
Based on the progress made during 2009, the WVDEP anticipates that the following activities will occur during 2010:
1) WVDEP will continue to move forward with implementing a pilot program to further test the concept of a VLSP, most likely during the second half of 2010. At this time, both DOW Chemical and FMC Corporation have reported that they are still planning on entering two of their sites into the pilot program. In addition, the WVDEP intends to enter several former municipal solid waste (MSW) landfills into the pilot program. At the sites, it is anticipated that the VLSP will provide a mix of the following services during the term of the pilot program:
· Maintaining the landfill cap.
· Operating the landfill leachate collection system.
· Implementing the provisions of the Land Use Covenants (LUCs) under the provisions of the Voluntary Remediation Program.
· Performing groundwater monitoring.
2) The IC Focus Group will prepare a report for the public entitled Recommendations for Establishing a Comprehensive State Voluntary Land Stewardship Program. This document will likely address the following topics:
· Identify the universe of State and Federal risk-based programs that include the option to use institutional and/or engineering controls to achieve site closure.
· Discuss the challenges and benefits of a VLSP for West Virginia.
· Survey the approaches to tracking and monitoring long-term institutional controls that are being implemented by other States.
· Outline the administrative structure of a VLSP, the elements of the fiduciary “Trust,” and overall management issues.
At this time, it is anticipated that the Recommendations for Establishing a Comprehensive State Voluntary Land Stewardship Program will be completed by mid-2010.This article was authored by Greg Tieman, Acacia Environmental Group LLC. For more information on the author see here.