Elk River Chemical Spill

Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

As two last executives are expected to plead guilty this week in a massive chemical spill, statements by one of them are fueling another lawsuit.

A deposition by ex-Freedom Industries executive Dennis Farrell says Eastman Chemical never told him its chemical could corrode tanks.

Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

  A judge has scheduled a guilty plea hearing for the last executive charged in a chemical spill that contaminated West Virginia's biggest drinking water supply.

In Charleston federal court Wednesday, Judge Thomas Johnston set an Aug. 18 hearing for former Freedom Industries executive Dennis Farrell.

U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin says prosecutors generally file for guilty plea hearings when a defendant has agreed to plead guilty to a federal charge or charges.

Elk River Chemical spill
wikimedia / Wikimedia

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources announced today that scientific studies conducted by the National Toxicology Program indicate that appropriate public health measures were taken during the 2014 Elk River Chemical Spill.

Dr. John Bucher, Associate Director of the NTP said the findings support the adequacy of the drinking water advisory levels established at the time of the spill.  He says NTP used a comprehensive suite of state-of-the-art toxicology tools to look at the spilled chemicals, and found very little reason for concern about long-term health effects.

At the recommendation of the National Toxicology Program and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, DHHR has chosen to launch a birthweight study to perform an analysis of children with low birthweights born during the period of the chemical spill in the nine affected counties.

Dr. Patrick Breysse, the Director of CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health said that it's reassuring that the NTP study results confirm  the determination in the early days of the spill that the levels of MCHM in drinking water were not likely to be associated with adverse health effects.


On West Virginia Morning, reports about two laws taking effect today.  One of them de-regulates some aboveground storage tanks and another makes it easier for craft breweries to do business in the state.  These stories on West Virginia Morning from West Virginia Public Broadcasting – telling West Virginia’s story.


Freedom Industries
Aaron Payne / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Two former Freedom Industries executives have been arraigned on a second superseding indictment stemming from a massive chemical spill last January.

The indictment contains a new charge against former Freedom President Gary Southern dealing with the company's bankruptcy. It restates original charges against him and former Freedom official Dennis Farrell.

Southern faces an additional count of lying under oath in bankruptcy court. He faces up to 93 years in prison if convicted.

Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Freedom Industries is proposing paying $6.7 million to various parties, including victims of the company's January 2014 chemical spill.

In Charleston federal bankruptcy court Thursday, the company proposed a plan to offer spill victims $2.7 million.

The January 2014 spill contaminated 300,000 residents' tap water for days. Businesses that couldn't operate without water, including restaurants, and individuals are seeking compensation.

Ashton Marra

The state tourism division's record keeper has been subpoenaed in the criminal cases over a massive chemical spill last year.

In Charleston federal court Thursday, the subpoena says the Division of Tourism records custodian must attend the May 6 hearing for Freedom Industries officials facing federal charges.

The subpoena requires producing correspondence involving Tourism Commissioner Amy Shuler Goodwin's office about the January 2014 chemical spill.

Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Prosecutors are filing sealed responses to a questionnaire aiming to determine if conflicts exist in the criminal case over a massive chemical spill last year.

In Charleston federal court Tuesday, Judge Thomas Johnston ordered the responses to be sealed. U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin and two subordinates who also lived in the area affected by the spill will fill out the surveys.

Prosecutors Set Up Website for Victims in W.Va. Spill Case

Apr 15, 2015
Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Federal prosecutors have set up a website offering updates to victims about the criminal cases over last year's massive chemical spill.

On Wednesday, U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin announced the new website about the Freedom Industries cases.

Freedom Industries
Aaron Payne / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A federal judge is drafting a questionnaire to decide whether prosecutors who live in Charleston have a conflict of interest in the criminal case over the massive chemical spill last year.

Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Freedom Industries has signed a Voluntary Remediation Agreement with the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection following the January 2014 spill of crude MCHM that tainted the water supply of 300,000 West Virginians for days. The agreement is part of the Freedom’s acceptance into the DEP’s Voluntary Remediation Program, including clean up the site.

On West Virginia Morning, reports from two public meetings last night.  State officials talk with citizens about clean up plans for the Freedom Industries site in Charleston where a chemical spill occurred last year.  And in Bridgeport, citizens for and against the Atlantic Coast natural gas pipeline speak to federal officials.  These stories coming up on West Virginia Morning from West Virginia Public Broadcasting – telling West Virginia’s story.


Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A now-bankrupt chemical company has pleaded guilty to three pollution charges related to last year's spill that contaminated a West Virginia river.

Mark Welch, chief restructuring officer of Freedom Industries, entered the plea on behalf of the company Monday in federal court in Charleston.

Freedom faces a maximum $900,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled June 29.

On West Virginia Morning, Glynis Board reports on a congressional rewrite of the Toxic Substances Control Act.  The state’s two U.S. Senators are sponsors.  And we’ll travel to Pickens in Randolph County to visit with a maple syrup farmer.  These stories coming up on West Virginia Morning from West Virginia Public Broadcasting – telling West Virginia’s story.


Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The public will learn next week about plans to clean up a chemical storage site on the Elk River that was the source of a public water crisis in West Virginia.

The Tuesday meeting in Charleston will include consultants from Freedom Industries and officials from the state Department of Environmental Protection. They'll explain plans under the department's voluntary industrial remediation program.

Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Two former employees at Freedom Industries have pleaded guilty to a pollution charge in last year's chemical spill into a river in West Virginia.

Ex-plant manager Michael Burdette and environmental consultant Robert Reynolds entered the pleas to negligent discharge of a pollutant Wednesday during separate hearings in federal court in Charleston. They each face up to a year in prison when they are sentenced June 24.

The January 2014 spill of a coal-cleaning agent into the Elk River contaminated drinking water for 300,000 residents for days.

  At the Legislature today, Senators begin to focus in on the state's four billion dollar budget as they wait for Delegates to approve some major pieces of legislation, like charter schools and campaign finance reform. The West Virginia schools for the deaf and blind will be eligible for funding from the School Building Authority for badly needed improvements under a bill passed by the senate finance committee today.

AP

House lawmakers have approved a push to scale back a law safeguarding against chemical spills from aboveground tanks.

A January 2014 chemical spill that contaminated drinking water for 300,000 residents for days spurred the law.

Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

  A House of Delegates panel narrowly approved a bill to scale back protections to prevent chemical spills from sullying water supplies.

The January 2014 chemical spill that contaminated drinking water for 300,000 residents for days spurred the tank law.

At 11:30 p.m. Monday, the committee voted 13-12 to send the proposal to the floor. Several Kanawha County Republicans opposed it.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Senators approved 30-1 a bill that will scale back the state’s above ground storage tank law approved in 2014. The law came as a reaction to the Freedom Industries’ chemical spill into the Kanawha River that left 300,000 West Virginians without usable water for as many as ten days.

Senate Bill 423 separates tanks into two levels, with level one tanks receiving the highest level of scrutiny from the state Department of Environmental Protection.

Pages