Associated Press Published

Sentencing Set for Ex-Execs in W.Va. Chemical Spill


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.

The first to be sentenced are ex-Freedom plant manager Michael Burdette on Monday and environmental consultant Robert Reynolds on Wednesday. Each faces up to a year in prison and a minimum $2,500 fine.

The company itself faces up to $900,000 in fines. Sentencings also are later this month for ex-Freedom officials William Tis, Charles Herzing, Dennis Farrell and, lastly, Gary Southern.

Southern faces the harshest penalty: up to three years in prison and $300,000 in fines.

Ex-U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin says the spill was “a wake-up call” to the vulnerability of tap water systems.