Last year, meth lab claims made up about 20 percent of all payouts from the crime victims fund. In Kanawha County, 32 percent of victims' payouts were for meth labs. In Putnam County, it was 45 percent.
In Pendleton, Pleasants and Tucker counties, every penny paid by the crime victims fund in 2013 went to cleaning up meth labs.
A federal matching grant reimburses West Virginia 60 cents for every dollar paid out of the crime victims fund, but the grant won't reimburse the state for meth lab claims
Senate leaders have said they would look into finding other ways to fund meth lab cleanup costs -- possibly through the Department of Environmental Protection and Department of Health and Human Resources.
"Step one is to prevent the state from going in and rehabilitating these properties," Carmichael said.
Next week, the House Judiciary Committee is expected to take up a bill to reduce meth labs by requiring a prescription for some cold medications containing pseudoephedrine, a key meth-making ingredient. The Senate approved the bill (SB6) Tuesday.
Delegate Don Perdue, D-Wayne, said it's "absolutely" imperative that the House pass the prescription bill so that West Virginia property owners aren't left on the hook for meth lab cleanup costs that could exceed $1 million statewide this year.
West Virginia police officers seized 533 meth labs last year, a record number
"Those individual property owners are going to be responsible for those cleanups," Perdue said. "The only chance they have is for us to reduce the possibility these meth labs are going to happen to their holdings."
The crime victims fund legislation next moves to the Senate Finance Committee.
Reach Eric Eyre at erice...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4869.