May 13, 2019

Manchin Applauds EPA Administrator Wheeler For Minden Cleanup Announcement

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), applauds Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Wheeler for his addition of the Shaffer Equipment/Arbuckle Creek area to the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL), which prioritizes areas of contamination that affect local communities and environmental health.

“This is a great step in the right direction for the Shaffer Equipment/Arbuckle Creek area so that they can begin fixing the situation that is harming residents of Minden. In March, I sent a letter to Administrator Wheeler urging him to add the Shaffer Equipment/Arbuckle Creek area to the NPL, and I am glad that this was taken to heart. I am grateful for the efforts of EPA staff in support of this community, but the residents of Minden are in dire need of further assistance. Now that we have the NPL designation, I will continue to request that the EPA consider relocation efforts as an option as well as consider pursuing long-term remedial action in order to pursue a permanent solution to the contamination at the Shaffer site. I look forward to seeing the positive changes made for the citizens of Minden and the surrounding area,” said Senator Manchin.

In 1980, Congress enacted the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act to address contaminated sites posing a harm to human health. From 1970 to 1984, the Shaffer Company owned and operated an industrial facility that built electricity substations for the local coal mining industry and stored several hundred items of unused or damaged equipment on the property. The transformers, capacitors, switches, and related voltage regulation and distribution devices contained PCB, a known carcinogen that was banned in 1979. Since 1984, due to contamination by the Shaffer Company, Minden has been designated as a Superfund site and continues to face challenges caused by PCB contamination. With the new NPL designation for Minden, the EPA will dive further into investigating the health effects and determining what remedial actions can be taken.

Timeline of Senator Manchin’s efforts to designate Minden on the NPL:

April 25, 2018- Senator Manchin spoke with Administrator Pruitt about Minden

May 14, 2018- Senator Manchin sends a letter asking HHS Secretary Azar and NIH Director Birnbaum to direct the National Toxicology Program and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry to conduct additional research into the link between exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and cancer

May 14, 2018 Senator Manchin invited EPA Regional Administrator, Cosmo Servidio, to visit Minden and hear concerns from the Citizens about the exposure to PCBs from the Shaffer Equipment Company

May 31, 2018- Senator Manchin staff held mobile office hours at the Minden Community Center to hear directly from Minden residents

June 7, 2018 Cosmo Servidio visits Minden

June 14, 2018- Secured Report Language in the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies FY19 funding bill that urges the EPA to regularly report to the West Virginia delegation their efforts in Minden.

August 23, 2018- Wrote a letter to Secretary Azar urging him to look further into the connection between PCBs and Cancer.  

September 11, 2018- Minden added as a Proposed Site for the National Priorities List (NPL)

October 11, 2018- Senator Manchin staff attended NPL update meeting in Oak Hill and Minden

November 13, 2018- Senator Manchin submitted official comments to the EPA on the proposed designation of Minden, WV to the National Priorities List, offering his full support.

March 29, 2019- Senator Manchin sends a letter to Administrator Wheeler to reiterate his support for Minden to be added to the National Priorities List.

Besides these efforts listed, the Senator’s staff met with residents and stakeholders on several different occasions.

Read full letter to Administrator Wheeler here.