April 01, 2019

Sen. Manchin Urges EPA To Add Minden To National Priorities List | WVNS

MINDEN, WV (WVNS) - Concerns over the polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in Minden have reached the national level.  On April 1, 2019, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) sent a letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Administrator regarding the subject.

Sen. Manchin highlighted a resolution from the West Virginia State Legislature that shows bipartisan support for helping the residents of Minden.  He is encouraging the EPA Administrator, Andrew Wheeler, to add the community to the National Priorities List.

If Minden receives the designation, the community would have access to the EPA's Superfund. 

That could help residents in providing specialized medical care and other services.  According to a news release from Sen. Manchin, people in Minden show a significantly higher rate of cancer than other residents of Fayette County.

Minden residents are believed to have been exposed to PCBs from equipment stored by the Shaffer Company.  More information on the EPA's response efforts at the Shaffer Equipment Site and in the Minden area is available at the EPA's website.

Here is the complete text of Sen. Manchin's letter:

Dear Administrator Wheeler:

Under your leadership, the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) has proposed the addition of the Shaffer Equipment/Arbuckle Creek Area in Minden, West Virginia (“Shaffer”) to the National Priorities List (NPL) of Superfund sites. As you know, I strongly support this designation and sincerely appreciate your personal commitment to this effort. As you work to finalize the 2019 update to the NPL, I wanted to make sure you were aware of a recent resolution passed by the West Virginia State Legislature that demonstrates broad bipartisan support for providing relocation assistance and special medical treatment to the Minden residents.

Last November, I submitted my comments in support of the EPA’s proposal to add the Shaffer site to the NPL. The damaged and unused equipment stored by the Shaffer Company at the Minden site contained harmful polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), a known carcinogen that was banned in 1979 from the United States. This contamination has had lasting effects on the Minden community that can only be properly addressed once the Shaffer site is added to the NPL. With this designation, the residents of Minden, West Virginia can finally begin to find some relief. Health reports clearly show that Minden residents have a significantly higher rate of cancer than that of other Fayette County residents. They need our help.

During the 2019 legislative session, the West Virginia State Legislature passed Senate Resolution 76 through both the House and Senate with broad bipartisan support (attached). This resolution urged the “EPA, West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, West Virginia Bureau for Public Health, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, and Centers for Disease Control to assist Minden residents with both relocation assistance and specialized medical treatment as a result of their long-term exposure to polychlorinated biphenyl, dioxins, and dibenzofurans” and explicitly mentioned the importance of an NPL designation to that effort.

The West Virginia State Legislature joins all levels of state government in supporting those adversely affected by the Shaffer Equipment/Arbuckle Creek Area in Minden, West Virginia. I appreciate your consideration of the Shaffer site on the 2019 update to the NPL, and I look forward to continuing our work together on this critical project.


By:  Douglas Fritz