UPDATE (7:38 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 5): Putnam County Sheriff Bobby Eggleton responded on Facebook to the Governor saying:
“I just want everybody to understand that I’m not looking for an argument. I’m not looking for a fight. I’m just looking to make my state better … And I’m running into brick wall after brick wall. So I’m a little frustrated. I wouldn’t say I’m going to give up because that’s not in me.”
13 News also talked to the West Virginia Department of Highways who said, “WVDOH has regulatory authority over salvage yards, which means the owner of a legitimate salvage yard would be required to obtain proper permitting to operate, but WVDOH does not have jurisdiction over enforcement.”
Similar to Gov. Justice and WVDEP, WVDOH say enforcement would fall under law enforcement agencies.
UPDATE (2:08 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 5): Governor Justice’s office released the following statement in response to Sheriff Eggleton’s letter:
“Instead of calling my office or the DEP to request assistance, the sheriff chose to go directly to the media. What he would have learned if he had contacted us is that his demands are misplaced. Our DEP has no authority to enforce this law, that responsibility rests squarely with the Sheriff himself. I am fully supportive of cleaning up these eyesores in Putnam County and across our state, but this is an issue for law enforcement to address, not me.”
The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection also released a statement:
“The WVDEP does not have authority over abandoned or junked vehicles or property and it is our understanding that local law enforcement has primacy over these issues. However, the WVDEP stands ready to assist both the state DOT and law enforcement agencies to assess and remediate any environmental damage that may be occurring on sites with abandoned vehicles or property.”
PUTNAM COUNTY, WV (WOWK)—The Putnam County Sheriff is asking for West Virginia Governor Jim Justice for help with his push to “clean up West Virginia.”
Putnam County Sheriff Bobby Eggleton told the people of his community that he would crack down on abandoned vehicles on properties in the area.
“We don’t have to have junk cars sitting in our driveways. We don’t have to do that,” Eggleton said. “We’re a beautiful place. Let’s clean it up.”
On Friday, Eggleton sent a letter to Gov. Justice asking him to direct the WVDEP to act to clean up dilapidated properties.
“In my almost thirty years in law enforcement, I have learned that drugs and crimes run hand and hand [sic] with dilapidated properties and unmaintained areas,” Sheriff Eggleton wrote.
In a Facebook post earlier this week, Eggleton said he won’t stand for it any longer. When abandoned vehicles become a safety and health hazard, Eggleton said something needs to be done.
Critics have responded saying he doesn’t have the right to seize their property, but he says the law is on his side.
“When I ran for election, I said I would clean up Putnam County. That doesn’t just mean drugs and that doesn’t just mean that side of it. The violation of the law is the violation of the law,” Eggleton said.
The law says that any enforcement agency that has knowledge of or discovers abandoned property may take possession of either private or public property provided that a thirty-day notice is given to the property owner or owner of the vehicle.
To read Eggleton’s full letter to the governor, click here.