Elk River Chemical Spill

Freedom Industries
AP

In a letter to Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito, federal health officials say they thought their drinking water standard established after the Elk River chemical spill would have protected West Virginias from other forms of contact. 

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention official says drinking the contaminated water was the primary exposure they were concerned with when forming their safety threshold. CDC director Thomas Frieden says consumption was associated with the most significant health effects.

West Virginia American Water
Foo Conner / Flickr

  The state Public Service Commission has ordered an investigation into West Virginia American Water's response to the Jan. 9 chemical spill in Charleston.

The PSC said Wednesday the focus of its investigation will be on whether the company's reaction to the spill and presence of the coal-cleaning agent MCHM was "unreasonable or inadequate."

Among other things, the PSC has ordered the company to provide an account of actions it took starting when it became aware of the Jan. 9 spill at the Freedom Industries plant along the Elk River.

Aaron Payne / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

  Federal officials have denied Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's appeal seeking a major disaster declaration for a January chemical spill that contaminated the water supply in nine counties.

Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator Craig Fugate says in a letter to Tomblin that a review affirmed the agency's earlier decision to deny Tomblin's request for a declaration. The letter says the event doesn't meet the legal definition of a major disaster.

As Dave Boucher of The Charleston Daily Mail reports, MCHM--the same chemical involved in a January spill that tainted the water supply of some 300,000 West Virginians--has been found in discharges from three coal prep plants in the state: Delbarton Mining in Mingo County, Wolfrun Mining in Barbour County, and Marfork Coal near the border of Boone and Raleigh counties.

Freedom Industries
Aaron Payne / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A bankruptcy judge is expected to approve Freedom Industries' request to sell its Poca Blending facility unless a better bid is submitted by Friday afternoon.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Ronald Pearson found the proposed buyer, Lexycon LLC, doesn't have any connection to Freedom or its former controlling officers. Pearson also said the sale's terms and conditions, and the negotiations, weren't inappropriate.

Freedom Industries
Aaron Payne / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

 The company at the center of a January chemical spill in West Virginia is returning to bankruptcy court.

Several motions by Freedom Industries will be heard Tuesday afternoon at the federal courthouse in Charleston.

The company responsible for the chemical leak has asked a judge for approval to pay $1.9 million for work completed by various lawyers and consultants. A subsequent court filing proposes ways to reduce those costs.

Kanawha County residents last night got a better understanding of how the January 9th chemical spill affected the community  as results from a scientific survey were released. A competition on Concord University’s campus sprang folks into walking more than 42,000,000 steps, the equivalent of going across the United States almost 6 ½ times. Efforts continue to help save Hemlock trees in Preston County's Cranesville Swamp from an invasive insect.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Kanawha County residents got a better understanding of the impacts of the January 9 chemical spill on their community Monday evening as results from a scientific survey were released.

Those results show some surprising numbers when it comes to how people found out about the do not use ban, if they ignored instructions and how the spill itself effected not just their health, but also their wallets.

Foo Conner / Flickr

The process to change out 16 activated carbon filters is now half complete at West Virginia American Water’s Charleston filtration plant. That change comes after the January 9th chemical spill into the Elk River, the source of intake for the plant.

The Kanawha-Charleston Health Department plans the release of the results of their survey that attempts to gauge the impact of the Elk River chemical spill. Sylvia Mathew Burwell faces her first Senate confirmation hearing on her way to become the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. Former West Virginia Public Broadcasting reporter Anna Sale launches a new podcast that attempts to tackle the issues we all deal with but rarely discuss. Also, Solas performs "Am I Born to Die" on thjis Mountain Stage song of the week.

Freedom Industries
AP

A bankruptcy judge is concerned that a company responsible for a West Virginia chemical spill wants to sell remaining property to a company tied to former executives.

Freedom Industries has filed a motion to sell chemicals and property at a leased secondary facility, Poca Blending in Nitro, to Lexycon LLC.

Lexycon President Kevin Skiles and independent consultant Dennis Farrell are former Freedom executives. Lexycon was formed in Florida in March.

Dr. Rahul Gupta and Del. Cindy Frich appeared on Wednesday, May 7's episode of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Based simply on the titles of the segments from Wednesday's show, you can probably guess in which one they appear.

Freedom Industries
Aaron Payne / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The now-bankrupt company at the center of West Virginia's chemical spill wants to sell what's left at its other site to a company tied to former executives.

Freedom Industries filed court motions Monday seeking permission to sell chemicals and property in Nitro at Poca Blending, which Freedom leases. Lexycon LLC would be the buyer.      

Lexycon President Kevin Skiles and independent consultant Dennis Farrell are former Freedom executives. The company was formed in Florida in March.

Aaron Payne / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has announced an “After Action Review” of the state’s  response to the January 9 Elk River chemical spill. 

The Review hopes to highlight the many ways in which state agencies, county and local emergency management offices, volunteer and charity organizations, the West Virginia National Guard, and other entities responded to the nine-county State of Emergency.

Tomblin’s office says the review will also address ways the state can improve its emergency response systems. 

Freedom Industries
AP

A Putnam County judge has ordered a Hurricane landfill where wastewater from a Charleston chemical spill was dumped to produce documents sought by the city of Hurricane in its investigation.

Circuit Judge Phillip Stowers ruled Friday that Hurricane has a right to protect its citizens under the state home-rule law. The Charleston Gazette reports Stowers still must decide how much power the city has in the investigation it launched last month into the Disposal Services landfill owned by Waste Management.

Twiter / @hansenevan

  The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection announced last week that they are seeking public input on what should be included in the rules to regulate aboveground storage tanks. The director of a Morgantown-based environmental consulting firm is hoping to be able to see who is submitting ideas, and what those ideas are.

David Gutman of The Charleston Gazette reports that executives of soon-to-be-bankrupt Freedom Industries haven't abandoned the chemical industry. In fact, they've created a new company in Lexycon, LLC, which was founded in Florida in March and registered with the West Virginia Secretary of State's office about a month ago.

With an expected population decline and negative stereotypes surrounding young people who choose to stay in the state, we hear a few proposed solutions for the issue. Evan Hansen of Downstream Strategies talks about the Department of Environmental Protection's public comment period for above-ground storage tank regulation. Also, Richwood sees a revival with their annual Feast of the Ramson.

    

Freedom Industries
AP

  Months after a chemical spilled into 300,000 West Virginians' water source, federal officials want to determine at what level people can safely breathe the chemical's fumes.

Over the next few months, the Environmental Protection Agency will work on detecting crude MCHM in the air and creating a safety standard for inhaling it.

Freedom Industries
Aaron Payne / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

  The company at the center of West Virginia's chemical spill says costs of $1.9 million accumulated since the January leak "appear to be large," but are justified. Freedom Industries Chief Restructuring Officer Mark Welch wrote in bankruptcy filings that despite the price tag, the court should let Freedom make the payments through March 31 for contractors. The costs include environmental cleanup, legal fees, consulting and more.

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