Elk River Chemical Spill

Chemical Leak
11:22 am
Fri March 7, 2014

FBI Visits Company that Hauled Chemicals for Freedom Industries

Credit C. W. Sigman

Federal agents have visited a company that cleaned up and hauled chemicals from the site of a spill that contaminated 300,000 West Virginians' water.
 

U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin confirmed that FBI investigators were at Diversified Services LLC in St. Albans on Thursday. Goodwin could not comment on why they were there.

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The Legislature Today
7:15 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

The Water Protection Bill, State Budget, Healthcare Lobbyist Thom Stevens, & More

The House passed the Water Resources Protection and Management Act on Wednesday. The Senate passes their version of the budget bill and calls for $125 million to be used from the Rainy Day Fund. Healthcare lobbyist Thom Stevens outlines some of the more than 200 bills this session relating to healthcare, including the late-term abortion bill and a bill that would make pseudoephedrine available by  prescription only.

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Chemical Leak
4:01 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Hearing on Capitol Hill Considers Lessons Learned from Elk River Chemical Spill

Credit Twiter / @hansenevan

The U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works had a hearing Thursday in Washington that focused on improving chemical safety. Committee members heard about the recent water crisis in the Kanawha Valley from a West Virginia expert.

Panelists included representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency and the United States Chemical Safety Board as well as authorities from communities that have witnessed recent chemical strife.

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Chemical Leak
1:40 am
Thu March 6, 2014

Five Things That Happened Before W.Va. House Passed the Water Resources Protection & Management Act

Credit Daniel Walker

There is little doubt that the bill aimed to protect water resources in the state, in response to the Jan. 9 spill of MCHM into the Elk River by Freedom Industries, has been the most closely watched and widely discussed bill of the session.

Although the Senate passed SB 373 less that two weeks after its introduction, its passage  in the House took far longer--a result of a triple committee reference that offered a chance for roughly 60 delegates to offer amendments to the bill. Delegates also labored over 20 amendments on the bill's Third Reading Wednesday night before deciding to send the bill back to the Senate.

Here's a few highlights from Wednesday night's floor session leading up to SB 373's passage:

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West Virginia Morning
9:32 am
Wed March 5, 2014

Legislative Coverage, Kids Dancing in School Hallways, and Chasing Off Old Man Winter

On this West Virginia Morning, abortion and water resources are debated in the legislature; Jessica Lilly let's us in on how grade school kids are getting their groove on; and we hear about this year's Fasnacht festival in Helvetia.

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The Legislature Today
7:51 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Senate Takes on Late-Term Abortions, Water Protection Bill Heads to House Floor, & WVU President Gee

The Senate Health and Human Resources Committee amends and passes a House bill that would prohibit abortions after 20 weeks. The House Finance Committee removes an amendment to the water protection bill that would force the state Bureau for Public Health to monitor the health those affected by the January 9 spill by Freedom Industries. West Virginia University President E. Gordon Gee speaks about his appointment as permanent chief of the school and his vision for its future.

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House Finance Committee
3:56 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Water Resource Protection Bill Passes Final House Committee Reference

The House Finance Committee approved S.B. 431, relating to issuance and renewal of certain driver's licenses and federal ID cards.

The House Finance Committee removed several of the sections added by the other House committees in the water resource protection bill.

One of which was related to medical monitoring which the committee determined was a redundancy because Dr. Letitia Tierney from the DHHR explained during the meeting her office plans to pursue testing whether it is in the bill or not.

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Chemical Leak
12:36 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Freedom Industries Hires Firm to Keep Emails, Data

Credit Aaron Payne / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The West Virginia company at the center of a January chemical spill is hiring experts to preserve emails and phone records for ongoing investigations.
 
Freedom Industries will pay Vestige Ltd. about $42,500 to maintain electronic evidence, which is needed for a U.S. Attorney's Office investigation and other chemical spill inquiries.
 

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Chemical Leak
4:56 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

WVAW Discontinues Bulk Water Distribution

West Virginia American Water announced Monday they would be discontinuing their bulk water distribution service two days early.

In a press release, the company said the forecast is to blame for the early end to the service which was planned to end Wednesday. Bulk water tankers in previous weeks have been unable to distribute water when temperatures reach freezing.

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Chemical Leak
2:04 am
Mon March 3, 2014

Delegates Advance Water Legislation after Debating 50 Amendments

Credit West Virginia Legislature

Members of the House Judiciary Committee spent more than 9 hours debating and discussing 50 amendments to Senate Bill 373 Sunday into Monday.

The bill is meant to regulate above ground storage tanks and protect the state’s water resources in response to the January 9 chemical spill at Freedom Industries in Charleston that resulted in the contamination of 300,000 West Virginians’ drinking water.

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Chemical Leak
12:36 pm
Sat March 1, 2014

Rockefeller Still Skeptical of W.Va. Water Safety

Credit Politico

Sen. Jay Rockefeller is still skeptical about safety of drinking water for 300,000 Charleston-area residents.
 
At an appearance Friday in Charleston, the West Virginia Democrat said he would not drink tap water when he is visiting the capital city, according to the Charleston Daily Mail.
 

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Chemical Leak
6:31 pm
Fri February 28, 2014

Governor Tomblin Lifts State of Emergency Seven Weeks After Elk River Spill

W. Va. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has lifted the state of emergency over contaminated water.
Credit wikimedia / Wikimedia

Governor Earl Ray Tomblin has lifted a state of emergency for nine counties in West Virginia that were affected by a chemical spill into the Elk River by Freedom Industries that tainted the drinking water supply of 300,000 residents.

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WNPR's Where We Live
11:43 am
Fri February 28, 2014

Is Another Water Revolution on the Horizon?

Virginia de Lima, Chief of USGS New England Water Center's Connecticut Office

Originally published on Mon June 23, 2014 8:45 am

Each time you go to turn on the faucet, flush the toilet, or water the lawn, you’re connecting yourself to a complex water system with nearly two and a half thousand years of history. The structure of our modern network of reservoirs, pipes, and drains owes much of its influence to designs dating back to ancient Rome. 

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Chemical Leak
10:59 am
Fri February 28, 2014

Delegates Want Special Session Focusing On Water, House Speaker & Judiciary Chair Disagree

Del. Meshea Poore
Credit West Virginia Legislature

Delegate Meshea Poore has asked Governor Earl Ray Tomblin to call a special session to focus solely on legislation to protect the state’s water supply. She's received bipartisan support in her request from more than 20 delegates, including many from the nine counties directly affected by the water crisis.

However, House Speaker Tim Miley and Judiciary Chair Tim Manchin disagree and say that deliberations on Senate Bill 373 will continue.

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The Legislature Today
7:18 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Controversial House Bills Now in The Senate, Pretrial Release Programs, Sen. Brooks McCabe, & More

Bills relating to abortion, drilling waste, and the attorney general's office that were controversial in the House now make their way through the Senate. The House Judiciary Committee discusses expanding pretrial release programs. Soon-to-be-retiring Senator Brooks McCabe discusses the future of West Virginia through his thoughts on teacher pay raises, sustainable water quality, and the future fund.

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News
4:41 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

West Virginia Public Broadcasting's Ashton Marra to Participate in WVU Panel on Elk River Spill

Credit PBS Newshour via YouTube

On March 24, West Virginia Public Broadcasting reporter Ashton Marra will be one of five participants in "From Beats to Tweets: Media Coverage of the Elk River Spill" for the West Virginia University School of Journalism.  The panel discussion will examine local and national coverage of the event, and discuss the role of social media alongside traditional reporting in keeping the public informed and engaged throughout the events of the

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Chemical Leak
2:12 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

W.Va. Delegation Urges CDC to Monitor Health Effects of Jan. Spill

Credit Cecelia Mason / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

West Virginia’s Congressional Delegation has penned a letter to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, urging health officials to conduct further studies on the effects of the January 9 Freedom Industries chemical spill.

Senators Joe Manchin and Jay Rockefeller, along with Representatives Nick Rahall, Shelley Moore Capito and David McKinley sent the letter Thursday.

The letter supports Gov. Tomblin’s request for additional studies and health monitoring of the more than 300,000 West Virginians impacted by the spill in the Kanawha Valley.

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The Legislature Today
7:51 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

House Looks at Senate Water Protection Bill, Charleston CVB Hopes to Shake Water Stigma, & More

The House of Delegates went through 60 items on their daily calendar on "Crossover Day," the last day for bills to be out of their house of origin. But, House Judiciary heard from environmental consulting firm Downstream Strategies as they examined Senate Bill 373, the bill that would regulate above-ground storage facilities. The Senate votes on 11 bills, debates three possible Constitutional Amendments, and also votes on the teacher pay raise bill.

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Economy
1:19 am
Wed February 26, 2014

State and Local Tourism Evaluate Post-Spill Plans, Conference Participants Leave With No Bad Taste

Michael Guidi of Carr’s Holidays in New York State (left) sits down with Lauren Hunt of the Charleston CVB to discuss travel opportunities for the groups he serves. Guidi wasn't worried about the water in Charleston or how it might affect his decision to bring tourists to the area.
Credit Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

With the state eclipsing the $5 billion mark for tourism revenue in 2012, this week’s Travel  South Conference in Charleston gave visitors bureaus across the state a chance to cash in and drive even more tourism opportunities to their respective areas. But the conference comes nearly seven weeks after the spill of thousands of gallons of MCHM into the Elk River by Freedom Industries. 

Many locals worry that the tourism economy would, much like the water, be left with a tainted reputation. Tourism professionals from across the country seemed unphased by the water crisis while here and local travel professionals hope the stigma of the spill won’t last. 

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Bankruptcy
4:44 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Few Creditors Question W.Va. Spill Company in Court

Credit Aaron Payne / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A few of the hundreds of creditors seeking compensation from the company at the center of West Virginia's chemical spill questioned top company officials in bankruptcy court.
 
At Tuesday's meeting administered by a U.S. Department of Justice official, Freedom Industries President Gary Southern and Chief Financial Officer Terry Cline answered questions on company finances from a federal trustee and fewer than 10 attorneys representing creditors.
 

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