West Virginia Chemical Spill Declared Federal Disaster

UPDATE: 3-3-14

Received from Environmental Action:

Jan,

Thanks for being a part of our campaign for clean water in West Virginia. When a chemical spill last month poisoned the Elk River in West Virginia, we responded. Thousands of us signed a petition to make sure the Obama Administration took over the management of West Virginia's access to safe drinking water from corrupt and inept state officials. Hundreds more of us chipped in to buy clean drinking water for residents that (even now) can't trust what comes out of their taps.

The federal officials who accepted Johanna's report admitted that they'd never seen this level of detailed reporting. Meanwhile, they haven't even done basic data gathering in Wast Virginia.

I could see the impact of our friend's expertise and passion right on the faces of the Office of Surface Mining officials when they accepted the petitions. When we speak out government really can do the important work of protecting the planet. For this day, at least, I can tell you that officials in Washington D.C. were getting your message in a way they couldn't ignore. I was proud to be there to witness it, and I hope you bear witness too at our blog.



America Water Tells People Water Is Safe

Despite this, people are still smelling licorice smell and children are being sent home as schools are closed. People complaining of rashes etc. still being told to "flush" their water. And of course, this as well is out of the consciousness of the public as people still suffer the stench of poison water and political/corporate corruption.

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Update 1-12-14: Tap water may be out for days after W.Va. spill

Think they will tell the truth about when the water is safe? ( If there is such a thing now) Does the president of "Freedom" Industries live in the affected area? I bet not.

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A West Virginia resident shops for bottled water at a Kroger in South Charleston after a chemical spill on the Elk River compromised the water supply to nine counties.

West Virginia Chemical Spill Declared Federal Disaster

Tyler Evert/AP

West Virginia schools and restaurants closed, grocery stores sold out of bottled water, and state legislators who had just started their session canceled the day's business after a chemical spill in the Elk River in Charleston shut down much of the city and surrounding counties even as the cause and extent of the incident remained unclear.

The federal government joined the state early Friday in declaring a disaster, and the West Virginia National Guard planned to distribute bottled drinking water to emergency-service agencies in the nine affected counties.

Shortly after the Thursday-night chemical spill from Freedom Industries hit the river and a nearby treatment plant, a licorice-like smell enveloped parts of the city. Thursday night, West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin declared a state of emergency for the affected counties and advised residents not to drink, bathe, cook or wash clothes in the water and to use it only for flushing.

The chemical, used in the coal preparation process, leaked from a tank and overran a containment area on Thursday. Freedom Industries did not immediately respond for comment.

The amount that spilled isn't immediately known. West Virginia American Water has a treatment plant nearby. The company's president, Jeff McIntyre, said the advisory affects up to 100,000 customers.

"The water has been contaminated," said Tomblin, who didn't know how long the emergency declaration would last. It includes includes West Virginia American Water customers in Boone, Cabell, Clay, Jackson, Kanawha, Lincoln, Logan, Putnam and Roane counties.

Tomblin said the advisory extends to restaurants, hospitals, nursing homes and other establishments that use tap water. The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources said symptoms include severe burning in throat, severe eye irritation, nonstop vomiting, trouble breathing and severe skin irritation like skin blistering.

End of excerpt



Map view of affected areas/Elk River

State of emergency, water ban issued in West Virginia over chemical leak

The 6 Most Terrifying Facts About The Chemical Spill Contaminating West Virginia’s Drinking Water

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So let me envision the scenario that results: "Freedom" Industries (meaning for them the freedom to do whatever they want regarding poisoning our resources) will get a slap on the wrist after not only contaminating the tap water of nine counties but also the Elk River. They may be required to throw some money into the cleaning (if that is even possible) and some to anyone who may have drank the water and suffers ill effects from it in order to appease their irresponsibility and all is then considered well. How many instances of this kind of event that toxifies our water through chemical, coal slurry, tarsands or fracking spills do we have to see in order to understand that you can't drink money? Regulation to protect our natural resources and our health and safety MATTERS.

Let us compare that to a state where solar energy provides the power... Will you ever see a headline that a "solar spill" resulted in such a toxification of our natural resources and the health of our citizens? You don't have to be of any political predisposition to see the difference... but you do have to be a human being who understands the importance of protecting our water and the health of our citizens.

People of West Virginia, there is a better way for you and your children. I hope you see it and demand it before it is too late.

Go Solar -Push Coal Out

Between this and fracking companies toxifying our waterways we better speak up!

Oil and Gas Co. Chesapeake Fined $3.2 Million for W. Virginia Water Violations Associated with Fracking



Also, just to address some of the comments I have been reading at other venues that the people of West Virginia deserve to drink this water because they are either Republicans or support coal (same as the comments I saw from Conservatives after Hurricane Sandy): I'm from New Jersey, but does that mean that because some partisans have now ruined the meaning of loving this country with their incessant politically partisan bickering and hatred that we cannot feel sad/outraged about this? This is beautiful country and we should all care regardless of politics. There needs to be an awakening because the political hatred in this country is killing it and our natural resources. Let's keep our eye on the prize. We are all in this together.

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