Elk River Chemical Spill

Freedom Industries
Aaron Payne / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

  Another former Freedom Industries executive wants U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin's office removed from prosecuting criminal charges in a chemical spill.

Ex-Freedom president and part-owner Dennis Farrell filed Tuesday's motion in Charleston federal court.

Farrell's lawyers claim Goodwin's office has a conflict of interest because its employees and their families were victims of the Jan. 9 chemical spill that left 300,000 residents without tap water for days. Another ex-Freedom president, Gary Southern, filed a similar motion.

WOWK

Federal prosecutors want a former executive charged in a January chemical spill on home confinement with electronic monitoring.

Freedom Industries
AP

A grand jury has indicted four former executives of a chemical company on pollution charges in a spill that prompted a drinking water ban for 300,000 West Virginia residents.

An indictment unsealed Wednesday charges ex-Freedom Industries presidents Gary Southern and Dennis P. Farrell and two others with failing to ensure that Freedom operated the terminal that leaked in a reasonable and environmentally sound manner.  

The former president of the company responsible for January's chemical spill that tainted the water supply for 300,000 West Virginians has been arrested on federal fraud charges. As the Charleston Gazette reports, Gary Southern has been charged with bankruptcy fraud, false oath in a bankruptcy case and wire fraud.

West Virginia utility regulators are again postponing hearings for the water company affected in a January chemical spill.

In an order last month, the state Public Service Commission canceled hearings scheduled Feb. 10-12 for West Virginia American Water.

The commission is probing the water company's response to a chemical spill that tainted its water supply. The Freedom Industries leak spurred a tap-water ban for 300,000 people for days.

Freedom Industries
AP

  The bankrupt company that leaked a coal processing chemical into Charleston's Elk River in January could reduce the amount of contaminated material it needs to clean from its polluted storage site.

The Charleston Gazette reports that West Virginia state environmental regulators revealed a proposed agreement Thursday in which Freedom Industries would enter a voluntary toxic cleanup program to remediate the site.

On West Virginia Morning, residents of Mill Creek in Randolph County had to chance to review maps of a proposed natural gas pipeline to see if it is near or crosses their properties.  And from Grant County, Liz McCormick is with Curtis Fleming of the Outdoor Channel as he teaches some young boys to fly fish. 

Small Business Administration
U.S. Small Business Administration

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - The deadline is approaching for West Virginia small businesses and nonprofit organizations affected by the January water crisis to apply for low-interest federal loans.
 
     The U.S. Small Business Administration says applications for the economic injury loans must be received by Wednesday. Working capital disaster loans of up to $2 million are available at 2.625 percent for private nonprofits and 4 percent for small businesses, with terms up to 30 years.
 

Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

  The Environmental Protection Agency has begun air monitoring at an industrial site in Charleston that fouled public drinking water supplies to 300,000 customers in January.

Unveiled Friday, the monitoring will be done at the Freedom Industries plant along the Elk River to determine if any chemicals are released into the air as the site is cleaned up.

The Charleston Gazette reports that the program's debut comes three weeks after the removal of more than one dozen chemical storage tanks.

Department of Environmental Protection

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection will conduct a public hearing Thursday evening on the  draft interpretive rule for the Aboveground Storage Tank Program.

The new program is a requirement of Senate Bill 373, which passed the West Virginia Legislature in March after the January 9th chemical spill in Charleston contaminated drinking water.

  St. Albans got a tax revenue boost from the January chemical spill as thousands of people came to the city to buy groceries and eat in restaurants.

St. Albans wasn't affected by a water ban imposed after the Jan. 9 spill in Charleston.

The Charleston Daily Mail reports that St. Albans's business and occupation tax revenue increased by $30,000 in the third quarter of 2014, compared to the same January-to-March period in 2013.

Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

After a chemical spill contaminated the drinking water for 300,000 West Virginians, state lawmakers passed a bill to regulate above ground storage tanks in the hopes of preventing it from happening again. Just a few weeks ago, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection released some guidelines for tank owners on how to interpret that law until their inspection program is finalized later this year. The DEP held an informational meeting in Martinsburg yesterday to hear the concerns of tank owners and collect comments on their new program.

On West Virginia Morning, owners of above ground storage tanks in the Eastern Panhandle learn more about registration and inspection rules from officials of the DEP last night in Martinsburg.  We’ll have a report.  And Umphrey's McGee is along with the Mountain Stage Song of the Week. 

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.

Freedom Industries
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.

Elk River
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.

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.

  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.

Department of Environmental Protection, DEP
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.

Freedom Industries
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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