Elk River Chemical Spill

Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A bankrupt chemical company responsible for a spill that contaminated a West 

  Virginia river and fouled the drinking water supply of 300,000 residents has been sentenced to the maximum possible penalty on pollution charges.

Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Six former Freedom Industries officials are set to be sentenced this month on pollution charges two years after a chemical spill into the Elk River in Charleston fouled the drinking water supply of 300,000 West Virginians.

West Virginia American Water
Foo Conner / Flickr

A new report released just days after the second anniversary of the Elk River Spill highlights shortcomings of the private water company that dealt with the spill. 300,000 people were told not to use their water for days following the accident.


Freedom Industries
Aaron Payne / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Two former Freedom Industries executives have agreed to a settlement in a class-action lawsuit stemming from a chemical spill that tainted tap water for 300,000 people.

Under the proposed settlement, former Freedom President Gary Southern would pay $350,000 and former executive Dennis Farrell would pay $50,000.

Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Neighbors might detect the telltale scent of licorice as crews excavate soil contaminated by the 2014 Freedom Industries spill.

The excavation is scheduled to begin Monday at the site, which was the epicenter of a public water crisis for weeks. The spill into the Elk River left hundreds of thousands of residents in Charleston and neighboring counties without access to public water supplies.

Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A contractor is set to begin excavating soil contaminated by the January 2014 chemical leak that fouled public water supplies for hundreds of thousands of people in Charleston and the surrounding region.

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection says the contractor hired by Freedom Industries will start digging Monday. Up to 10,000 tons of soil will be removed.

Freedom Industries
AP

More than $2 million will be distributed to residents and businesses affected by a 2014 chemical spill in West Virginia under a liquidation plan approved by a bankruptcy judge.

Freedom Industries' plan also will provide $1.4 million to the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection and environmental firms for continued cleanup work.

Foo Conner / Flickr

An advocacy group formed after the January 2014 Elk River Chemical spill will launch a campaign aimed to create a publicly-owned water system in the Kanawha Valley.

In a Thursday news release, Advocates for a Safe Water System says the organization will launch the “Our Water” campaign Tuesday at the University of Charleston.  The group seeks to have a public takeover of West Virginia American Water.

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.


West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

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.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

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.


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