Federal scrutiny and oversight of the natural resources industry will be heightened now that the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of W.Va. has announced the creation of the West Virginia Natural Resource Watch Group. The new group will serve as a watchdog to monitor companies' compliance with environmental laws as they extract natural gas and other resources. The members of the group have not been named.
Here is an excerpt from a Dec. 3 press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office - Northern District of W.Va.:
In addition to announcing the sentence imposed in the Chesapeake matter, U.S. Attorney Ihlenfeld also announced the formation of the West Virginia Natural Resource Watch Group to ensure compliance with environmental laws and to promote respect for our state’s natural resources. This new task force will conduct its first meeting on December 13, 2012, and the team will include representatives from federal, state, and local agencies.
“It’s critical that we keep a close eye on the energy extraction that is going on all around us,” said Ihlenfeld. “The economic impact that it’s having on our area is wonderful but we must make sure that our natural resources are not compromised and that future generations have clean water to drink and clean air to breathe.”
The agencies making up the group will work together to promote consistent communication, information sharing and good working relationships among law enforcement and regulatory agencies. It will also identify suspected violations of local, state, and federal environmental laws, coordinate prosecution efforts, and provide training.
The group expects to focus on violations of the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), as well as illegal disposal of hazardous waste, tampering with drinking water supplies, and other federal criminal violations that have an impact on the environment.
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