GreenHunter Decision On Hold Again

WHEELING – GreenHunter Water officials hoped to have their natural gas frack water recycling plant in Warwood operating by fall, but they will have to wait until at least August to even begin construction.

Wheeling Planning Commissioners Barry Crow, James Mauck, John Clarke, Thomas McCulloch, Don Atkinson and Russell Jebbia voted 6-0 Monday to again table GreenHunter’s site plan, saying the company had not provided adequate information. Commission Chairman Howard Monroe did not vote, as he normally only votes to break a tie, while Commissioner Michael Leo recused himself from voting, citing a conflict of interest that could arise if he does future work for the company.

The matter is expected to be reviewed again at the 5 p.m. Aug. 12 commission meeting in City Council Chambers.

During the June meeting, commissioners tabled the matter and asked GreenHunter officials to provide the following information before they would consider allowing the company to build at the former Seidler’s Oil Service site on North 28th Street:

– Documentation from the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection and the West Virginia Department of Transportation showing that GreenHunter’s project meets their guidelines.

– Documentation from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and/or the Nuclear Regulatory Commission showing that GreenHunter’s project will not emit excessive amounts of radiation.

– A site plan without the labels “Phase 2” or “barging” because GreenHunter still does not have permission from the Coast Guard to barge frack waste.

– A detailed lighting plan.

Tom Connelly, assistant director of the city’s Economic and Community Development Department, said Monday that GreenHunter had submitted only the lighting plan.

However, John Jack, vice president of Business Development for GreenHunter, seems puzzled at these requirements, asking commissioners, “Is this something normal for you to require? I have contacted the agencies. They say, ‘Why do you want a letter from us when you are not governed by us?'”

“We don’t want a permit. We want something that says you don’t need a permit,” Atkinson told Jack.

Noting he has received “dozens of emails regarding this,” Monroe said he wants proper documentation.

“When we approve your site plan, the city’s agencies will check to make sure you are complying with the plan we approve,” Mauck told Jack.

As the somewhat testy exchange continued, Jack said, “West Virginia DEP has oversight over our operations.” He said DEP will do a “walk-through” inspection once the plant is completed.

Jack also said that Phase 2 is “not up for discussion,” emphasizing that he has to wait for federal permission to barge frack waste along the Ohio River. However, commissioners then wondered why he had not removed references to Phase 2 from the site plans.

Clarke said the discussion should end because GreenHunter had not met the commission’s requirements. Commissioners then voted 6-0 to again table the measure.

Jack has said the Wheeling facility will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, though he said “90 percent to 95 percent” of the trucks that come through each day will do so during daytime hours. Jack said the number of trucks entering and exiting the facility each day could vary widely, but added a “good daily estimate” would be 30.

Jack said there will be 19 storage tanks at the North 28th Street site, but he emphasized the old rusty tanks left over from Seidler’s will be dismantled and removed.