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Administrator Wheeler Visits Minden, WV To Announce National Priorities List Additions

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Minden, WV - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler visited the Mountain State on Monday to announce new additions to the National Priorities List (NPL), including the Shaffer Equipment/Arbuckle Creek Area in Minden, West Virginia. 

“By adding the Shaffer Equipment/Arbuckle Creek area to the National Priorities List, we are taking action to clean up the site and protect the health of the local community,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “EPA listened closely to the concerns of the community in making this decision, and our commitment to the Minden community is that a site on the National Priorities List will be a true national priority.”

“This is such an important day because the great people of Minden have been hurting for too long and they’ve been waiting on this level of help for decades," said West Virginia Governor Jim Justice. "Our President, the EPA and our own Department of Environmental Protection here in West Virginia truly care about helping the people of Minden and, together with my office, we are finally taking major steps toward cleaning up this area once and for all. We are going to get it done.”

“This was a real group effort, and I’m so glad that we are finally seeing this site make it on the Superfund priority list. It’s taken some work to get us here. We’ve worked closely with Administrator Wheeler and many others at EPA to make this happen for a while now, and this is an important designation," said Senator Shelley Moore Capito (WV.) "It’s not only an acknowledgement of the work that needs to be done, but it’s also a commitment from the federal government—a commitment of attention and resources and a commitment to provide more financial and technical assistance to clean up this site and any lingering PCB pollution in the surrounding area. That also means delivering a new sense of safety and certainty to all those who call Minden home, and it means providing for the health and wellbeing of West Virginians.”

"I am pleased by the addition of Minden to the EPA’s Superfund National Priorities List. The contamination in this area has plagued our community for decades, and I am grateful that the Trump Administration and Administrator Wheeler are working to improve Southern West Virginia," said Congresswoman Carol Miller. "I look forward to continuing this partnership to find solutions that safeguard the environment and keep our communities healthy."

“It was a pleasure hosting Administrator Wheeler in Minden as we added the Shaffer Equipment/Arbuckle Creek site to the National Priorities List,” said EPA Region 3 Administrator Cosmo Servidio. “For far too long this community has been ignored, and under this administration we are committed to ensuring that all the children in Minden can lead healthy lives.” 

The Shaffer Equipment Company is a former manufacturer of electrical substations that used oil containing PCBs in electric transformers and other equipment. In the past, leaks, spills, and dumping contributed to PCB contamination at the facility and also resulted in runoff to the adjacent Arbuckle Creek. EPA, working with Governor Justice and in coordination with our West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) partners, took actions through EPA’s removal authorities in 1985-1987, 1991-1992, and 2001-2002 to address the immediate risks to PCB exposures associated with the Shaffer Equipment Company.

In 2016, residents contacted EPA and the WV DEP to express their continued concerns about residual PCB contamination at the Site. EPA responded by collecting data to determine whether the Site should be placed on the NPL. In September 2018, EPA proposed that the Shaffer site and areas around Arbuckle Creek be added to the National Priorities List.EPA received roughly 375 comments, and they were overwhelmingly supportive of the listing.

Since the Site was proposed in September, our Region 3 team has already been working with the West Virginia DEP to review all the data collected, engage with the local community, and develop a comprehensive plan for the Remedial Investigation. The Region 3 site team and contractors will be in Minden this week to evaluate site conditions and continue to engage with the local community.

EPA Administrator Wheeler in Minden, WV, May 13, 2019EPA Administrator Wheeler, Senator Capito, and Congresswoman MIller tour the Arbuckle Creek Area Superfund site.

EPA Administrator Wheeler in Minden, WV, May 13, 2019EPA Administrator Wheeler announces the NPL listing before Minden, WV residents. 

EPA Administrator Wheeler in Minden, WV, May 13, 2019EPA Administrator Wheeler takes questions alongside Congresswoman Miller (WV-3), U.S. Senator Shelly Moore Capito, and West Virginia Governor Justice.