On January 26, 2012, a bill was introduced in the West Virginia Legislature that would allow the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) to settle hazardous waste violations by consent order. The bill, H.B. 4320, would amend the civil penalties and injunctive relief provisions of the West Virginia Hazardous Waste Management Act, W. Va. Code §§22-18-1 et seq., to authorize the WVDEP Secretary to propose legislative rules to allow for the settlement of violations of the Act by consent agreements, as an alternative to instituting a civil action in the circuit courts of West Virginia.
Specifically, the bill would add the following language to the civil penalties and injunctive relief provisions of the West Virginia Hazardous Waste Management Act, found at W. Va. Code §22-18-17(b):
(2) In addition to the powers and authority granted to the secretary by this chapter to enter into consent agreements, settlements and otherwise enforce this chapter, the secretary shall propose rules for legislative approval in accordance with the provisions of [the West Virginian Administrative Procedures Act found at] article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code to establish a mechanism for the administrative resolution of violations set forth in this section through consent order or agreement as an alternative to instituting a civil action.
The West Virginia Water Pollution Control Act, W. Va. Code §§22-2-1 et seq. (2009 Repl. Vol.), contains a similar provision which is found at W. Va. Code §22-11-22(b). The bill would make the mechanisms for settling hazardous waste violations the same as the mechanisms available for resolving water violations in West Virginia.
Delegates Ferro, Barker, and Caputo introduced the bill at the request of the WVDEP. The bill has been referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary. For the text of the introduced version of the bill, click here.
This article was authored by Gale Lea Rubrecht, Jackson Kelly PLLC. For more information on the author, see here.