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Friday, June 7, 2013

The last two days with the Mining and Energy Commission have given me much material for this blog and it is hard to "be surgical" (as Chairman Womack is fond of saying). This post will focus on the Chemical Disclosure debacle.

  "...(the) Chemical Disclosure rule WAS  the toughest in the country[emphasis added] ." That's what Commissioner George Howard said today during discussion of the first rule moved forward for the consideration of the MEC. The draft rule was left hanging in limbo after it was pulled from the May 3 MEC  agenda after a heated meeting of the Rules Committee on May 2- widely reported on and the subject of many editorials. After a long day with my extended family yesterday, I missed them so much that I listened to the audio of the meeting on May 2 when I got home. Partial transcript below.

Jim Womack (JW): "And the next part down...I don't know if we want to get into this today, I dunno; what do you think George?"

George Howard (GH): "That's up to you Mr. Chairman. (indecipherable iterations) I don't know [if] we've reached a conclusion, but since we've talked about it privately, we should share it." (I wish I could have seen his face).

And off they went.

Commission Chair Womack expressed his thoughts about having a rule that was "mutually agreeable and acceptable". Agreeable and acceptable to who?

JW:  "I would think that your question mark on the quantities, I would think that at this juncture if we were just to scratch, ummm, scratch the quantities...maybe we'd get past this for now?"

 Charlotte Mitchell (CM):  "What are you guys (Womack, Howard and probably Charles Holbrook) contemplating here? Are we talking about changes to the substance of the rule?"

JW:  "I think we're  talking about substantive changes to the rule."

CM: "And what, what do you mean exactly?"

Further discussion. You can listen here: It's towards the end of audio 2.

CM: "It just seems like now we're rehashing...we're having the conversation that we've already had, I''m a little confused at what we're doing at this point why are we going through this rule line by line if you guys are planning to bring this rule back up."

JW: "Just be aware that we are revisiting the rule, because [we've] still got some contention about the rule."

CM: "Where is the...content[ion], I mean we've passed this rule out of committee, I mean I've got some concern; is this the way this Commission is gonna work?"

GH: "One of the most disruptive things we can do is pass something that gets rejected as is already by DENR and already by the legislature..."

CM: DENR has rejected this rule? By whose testimony?

GH: "No DENR has said they don't want to keep trade secrets."

CM: "Whose testimony?"

GH: "Mitch Gillespie."

Note: DENR keeps trade secrets all the time. Sometimes improperly. Believe me I know.

This discussion is what prompted this article:

Yesterday, Rules Committee Chair Amy Pickle said: ( This is paraphrased somewhat, I type slow and write slower).

  • Have been working on this rule quite a bit. The alternative proposal will supplant the rule in draft form now. The metric by which we will be judged is the Chemical Disclosure rule. Chair Womack is not here to discuss the proposal. "I think, the, I want to be particularly careful with the function of the Rules Committee. My general preference is that any substantive discussion be had in committee or [the] full MEC."

Chairman Womack indicates that we will have a "full disclosure" rule.

I leave it to you, dear reader to form your own conclusions.

1 comment:

  1. IN Virginia, mining companies can drill anywhere they want and do not have to contact anyone near the drilling sites, we have to request FOIA to get names of mining companies drilling near our homes.......drilling can ruin your water