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Co-LEPC Still Works Toward Separation

June 25, 2014
BY LAUREN MATTHEWS - Staff Writer ( , Wetzel Chronicle

The discussion of the separation of the Marshall/Wetzel LEPC was the main topic of discussion at Thursday's regular meeting of the Local Emergency Planning Committee.

Chairman Michael Barrick stated that he had conducted some research to "see how we can simplify some of the changes." Barrick stated that "all of our by-laws have to be approved by the state." He added that his suggestion was to basically "change the cover sheet until specific LEPCs can write their own by-laws and get it into the system."

It was determined that both county commissions had passed resolutions approving of the split. A copy of the minutes from the meeting where the LEPC voted to split would have to be submitted to Melissa Buckley, administrator of the State Emergency Response Commission (SERC), along with a copy of the membership listing for each new LEPC, as well as a copy of the resolution that each county commission passed. It is anticipated that these matters will be voted on at the next meeting of the SERC, which is June 19. By-laws will be approved at the SERC Conference, Aug. 11-13.

Barrick stated that the LEPC would have to "figure out how to close the books out and all of that."

"One of the things that was asked was how the money is distributed . . . It's a 50/50 split and any resources are 50/50. We need to maintain the working relationship we have with Marshall County. We have always played pretty well together, and one of the things I would suggest is someone from Wetzel County go to Marshall LEPC meetings, and I welcome Marshall County to send someone to Wetzel County LEPCs and coordinate, because one of the things we need to coordinate is regional hospital exercises, regional health health fairs, and I look forward to more regionalization of exercises, because we have limited resources and I think that would help us out tremendously, and we have a lot of experience with our brothers and sisters in Marshall County."

As for new business, Barrick stated he had gotten a "a complaint on the trains," adding, "the other day I was probably waiting on a train by Choo Choo's (in New Martinsville( for 45 minutes . . . I guess it has come up for city council and stuff, and now it has come to us."

He added: "People are concerned about not being able to get out, and at one point they were working on an evacuation route by the sewage treatment plant." Barrick noted he had issues with evacuating by another area that could be dangerous.

"We need to figure out how we are going to deal with that, because we've never had a complaint before. They are concerned the state law is being circumvented. A train is only supposed to be stopped for so many minutes, and I understand from some of the residents down there, that trains have been on tracks for an hour and that adversely affects our EMS, our law enforcement, our fire service . . ."

Wetzel County Schools' Director of Ancillary Services Brian Jones stated that he had a concern "here and checked into it . . . Who gave who the right-of-way? If the tracks were (first) there and gave our streets a right-of-way, they have the right to block it . . ." Jones suggested that if the city streets were "there first" then they would have more rights. "But is there any truth to who gave the right-of-way?"

"That's the first I've heard of it," Wetzel County Commissioner Don Mason started. "But Route 2 would be a state right-of-way. I suggest you talk to (Prosecutor) Timothy Haught because he just met with attorneys from CSX."

In another matter, Cecil Smith of Elementis was welcomed to the LEPC. "We are located on Bayer Materials Science complex," Smith stated. "We are new to the area. We have 10 sites in the United States. What we are going to do is manufacture polymers and additives for paints and the cosmetics industry." Smith stated Elementis was moving on to a project in which they would be using hazardous raw materials "but produce a non-hazardous product." Smith stated that with phase two, Elementis is required to "coordinate some sort of response with the local LEPC."

The next meeting of the Marshall/Wetzel LEPC will be held on Sept. 4, 10 a.m. A location for the meeting will be announced at a later date.



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