Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Lab that had certification revoked for falsifying water samples could soon be back in business

Less than a week ago, a West Virginia lab had its certification revoked because an employee admitted falsifying water quality samples for coal companies. Soon it could be back in business, Ken Ward reports for the Charleston Gazette. The state Environmental Quality Board is considering a request from Appalachian Laboratories to block the revocation and allow the company to remain open.

Lawyer Joseph Jenkins "told board members the DEP order puts the lab out of business and its 35 employees out of a job," Ward writes. "He said the DEP hadn’t performed its own investigation of allegations against the lab and that agency officials were acting out of concern that some third party might challenge DEP permit or enforcement decisions based on data from the lab."

Appalachian Laboratories President Kenny Fox "said that several major coal producers, including Patriot Coal, Alpha Natural Resources, CONSOL Energy and United Coal, have pulled all or part of their business from the lab," Ward writes. "Most employees have been told to stay home, pending resolution of the lab’s efforts for a temporary stay of the DEP order." Fox told the board that if the stay isn't granted, “We’ll have to shut our doors. We can’t gather samples. We can’t analyze them.” (Read more)

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