Elk River Chemical Spill

Environment
10:32 am
Tue September 30, 2014

W.Va. Envrionmental Regulators Brace for Tank Registration Deluge

Credit Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

State regulators are expecting a deluge of last-minute above-ground storage tank registrations.

A new state law requires owners to register above-ground storage tanks by Oct. 1. State officials estimate up to 80,000 tanks could meet the law's registration requirements.

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Chemical Spill Research
11:28 am
Wed September 24, 2014

Research Team to Talk W.Va. Chemical Spill

Credit AP

Georgetown University and Harvard University researchers are in Charleston discussing the response to a January chemical spill into the state's largest public water supply.

The research team will release its findings with stakeholders Wednesday at the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department.

The group's research focuses on learning from past incidents in public health emergency preparedness.

The Georgetown and Harvard team last visited Charleston in July to talk to individual stakeholders.

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Government
1:08 pm
Mon September 22, 2014

W.Va. Panel Studying Law to Protect Water Supplies

Credit Malepheasant / wikimedia Commons

  A West Virginia panel is starting to review a widespanning state law to protect drinking water supplies.

On Monday, the Public Water System Supply Study Commission held its first meeting. The 12-member group has to submit reports on the new law to a joint legislative committee by Dec. 15 annually, starting this year.

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Freedom Industries
10:23 am
Wed September 17, 2014

Bankruptcy Judge Approves $2.9 Million Chemical Spill Settlement

Credit AP

A federal bankruptcy judge has approved a $2.9 million settlement to benefit 300,000 people whose water was contaminated in a January chemical spill.

  Judge Ronald Pearson filed the order Tuesday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Charleston. A U.S. District Court judge's approval is also needed.

The proposal would rely on insurance proceeds from bankrupt Freedom Industries. The company's January spill spurred a tap-water ban for days. Freedom filed for bankruptcy eight days later.

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Chemical Spill
10:24 am
Tue September 16, 2014

Hearing for Elk River Chemical Spill Lawsuit Set for Sept. 2015

  A lawsuit against a water company, chemical producer, airport and others over a January chemical spill won't get a hearing for another year.

The consolidated lawsuit that targets West Virginia American Water, Eastman Chemical, Yeager Airport and others has a hearing for a motion on class certification on Sept. 25, 2015.

Judge John Copenhaver filed the schedule earlier this month in U.S. District Court in Charleston.

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Elk River Chemical Spill
4:25 pm
Fri September 12, 2014

Public Can Comment on Above Ground Storage Tank Rule

Credit Department of Environmental Protection

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection is taking public comments on the proposed interpretive rule detailing its Aboveground Storage Tank Program, the spill prevention response plan and tank certification requirements.

Comments on the proposed interpretive rule will be taken through Oct. 9, the same day the DEP holds a public hearing about the rule at its headquarters at 6:30 p.m. in Charleston.

The rule was registered with the Secretary of State's office on Tuesday.

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Industry
12:33 pm
Fri September 12, 2014

Influence Game: Chemical Trade Tries to Shape Regulations

Credit AP

The powerful chemical industry is putting its lobbying muscle behind legislation that would establish federal standards for compounds used in products from household goods to plastic water bottles. But the industry-favored bill would also make it tougher for states to regulate chemicals.

Many states already have acted on their own - and that's what's gotten the industry's attention.

The American Chemical Council, a trade group, spent nearly $6 million on lobbying in the first half of the year, the most recent reporting period.

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Chemical Spill
2:58 pm
Thu September 11, 2014

CDC in W.Va. Discussing Spill Health Monitoring

Federal health officials are in Charleston this week discussing options for medical monitoring after a January chemical spill contaminated water supplies to 300,000 people.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state health officials say they are a few weeks to a month away from deciding how to track people's long-term health.

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West Virginia Morning
7:59 am
Wed September 10, 2014

Legislative Interims Discuss Tank Safety and Craft Beer

On West Virginia Morning, two reports from the legislature’s interim meetings.  Ashton Marra on the new rule about certification and inspections of above ground storage tanks.  And Dave Mistich on what the state’s craft brewers are seeking from lawmakers.

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Elk River Chemical Spill
1:41 pm
Tue September 9, 2014

Rules Prioritize Above Ground Tank Inspections

Credit davidwilson1949 / wikimedia Commons

Gov. Tomblin said today that after months of hard work by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, an interpretive rule providing guidance on the implementation of Senate Bill 373, the above ground storage safety law, has been established.

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Government
2:32 pm
Mon September 8, 2014

Tomblin: No Special Session on Tank Law Changes

Credit AP

  Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin is planning administrative fixes instead of a special session to adjust a law regulating aboveground storage tanks.

Tomblin spokesman Chris Stadelman says the governor won't call a special session, as legislative leaders had urged. Lawmakers are already in Charleston this week for interim committee meetings.

Stadelman says the administration plans to put a higher priority on inspections for tanks near water supplies. He says tanks holding hazardous materials will also take priority.

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Chemical Spill
11:01 am
Mon September 8, 2014

Judge Worried Freedom Industries May Abandon Spill Site

Credit Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

  A bankruptcy judge is concerned that a chemical company may abandon the site of a massive January spill without cleaning it up.

Judge Ronald Pearson expressed the concern in an order filed Friday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Charleston.

The order points out that Freedom Industries' plan to liquidate says the company expects to pay $850,000 or less to remediate its Charleston spill site.

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Government
8:48 am
Fri September 5, 2014

Tomblin Taps Members for West Virginia Water Commission

Credit Office of the Governor

  Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has appointed four members to a panel dedicated to reviewing a new law to protect drinking water supplies.

Appointees include engineer Rick Roberts, hydrologist Ed Watson, public health expert Dr. Mike McCawley and citizen representative Pam Nixon.

Top officials from state environmental and health agencies, Public Service Commission and Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management will be on the commission.

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Bankruptcy
12:43 pm
Tue September 2, 2014

Utility Opposes $2.9 Million Deal in Freedom Industries Bankruptcy Case

Credit Foo Conner / Flickr

  A utility is opposing a $2.9 million bankruptcy settlement that would fund projects to benefit 300,000 people whose water was contaminated in January.

West Virginia American Water says Freedom Industries shouldn't use money from its insurance proceeds to pay for the projects. The company filed its opposition last week in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Charleston.

Freedom's spill in January spurred a tap-water ban for days. The company filed for bankruptcy eight days later.

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Legislation
4:29 pm
Fri August 29, 2014

Groups Working with Governor, DEP to Avoid Special Session on Tank Bill

Credit Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Stakeholders met with the governor’s office and the Department of Environmental Protection Friday to discuss possibly calling the legislature into a special session. The session would be focused on fixing some unintended consequences both Senate and House leadership see in the above ground storage tank bill passed earlier this year.

Friday’s meeting was the second this week focused on Senate Bill 373, legislation that came as a response to January’s chemical spill in Charleston. The spill contaminated 300,000 people’s drinking water for as many as ten days.

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Government
3:40 pm
Fri August 29, 2014

Kessler Appoints Kanawha-Charleston Health Department Chief to Water System Panel

Credit Kanawha Charleston Health Department

Senate President Jeff Kessler has announced his appointment to a statewide panel that will focus on the quality of public water systems in West Virginia.

Kessler announced in a press release the appointment of Kanawha- Charleston Health Department Executive Director Dr. Rahul Gupta to the panel. Gupta will serve as a non-voting member.

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Environment
10:23 am
Fri August 29, 2014

Freedom Industries Eyes Voluntary Cleanup Program

Credit AP

  Freedom Industries is considering trying to enter a state program to help ease cleanup at the site where a chemical spill polluted the Charleston area's water supply.

The company and the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection met last week to discuss whether the site is eligible for the agency's Voluntary Remediation Program.

The Charleston Gazette reports that the move that could result in Freedom having to meet less-stringent contamination standards than under existing enforcement orders.

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Chemical Spill
10:26 am
Thu August 28, 2014

House, Senate Leaders Urge Delay in West Virginia Tank Law

Credit Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

  State House and Senate leaders are urging the governor to call a special session to delay part of an aboveground storage tank law.

House Speaker Tim Miley and Senate President Jeff Kessler asked Gov.  Tomblin to call the session during next month's interim meetings. They're slated for Sept. 8-10.

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Investigation
9:36 am
Thu August 28, 2014

W.Va. PSC Chair Steps Down from Chemical Spill Probe

  The state Public Service Commission's chairman has removed himself from an investigation into a water company's response to a January chemical spill.

The Charleston Gazette reports PSC Chairman Mike Albert cited his previous work as an attorney representing West Virginia American Water in stepping down from the spill investigation.

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Chemical Spill
4:18 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

West Virginia to Study Elk River Fish Life After Chemical Spill

Credit AP

  The state will survey fish life in the Elk River after a massive chemical spill polluted the waterway in January.

The U.S. Geological Survey's National Fish Health Laboratory in Leetown will aid the state Division of Natural Resources in the project next week.

The Freedom Industries spill contaminated the drinking water supply for 300,000 people for days.

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