Here’s some good news: the FBI has arrested Gary Southern, former president of Freedom Industries, the company responsible for contaminating the drinking water of 300,000 West Virginians during the Elk River spill in January. According to an unsealed complaint, Southern was charged with bankruptcy fraud, wire fraud, and lying under oath during the hearings that followed the spill.
My prediction is a cozy house arrest for four years, during which time he trains to become a lobbyist in Washington, D.C.
The Elk River spill, which happened near Charleston, left 300,000 people without tap water. Up to 10,000 gallons of coal-cleaning chemicals began leaking just upstream of the largest water treatment plant in the state. The leak sprung from a storage tank run by Southern’s former company, the badly named “Freedom Industries,” which manufactured chemicals for coal and steel production. The particular chemical, called 4-Methylcyclohexane Methanol, is a nasty little compound that causes severe throat burning, vomiting, and skin blusters if you come into contact with it.
So it’s just the sort of thing you want in your water supply, because Freedom (Industries).
An investigation revealed the gains of government small enough to drown in a bathtub full of 4-Methylcyclohexane Methanol: the company’s tanks were full of holes, which allowed a steady stream of the compound into the river, and the leak had been sort-of-fixed previously, with a cinder block and some absorbent powder. There were other instances of corporate malfeasance as well; for instance, they paid more for anti-environmentalist politicians than they did in fines for the spill.
In a sworn affidavit, FBI Special Agent James F. Lafferty said that Southern, like all Bourgeoisie scum, put his wealth before anything else — in this case, he let innocent people take the fall for his actions:
Shortly after the leak and discharge of MCHM into the Elk River was discovered on January 9, 2014. Southern engaged in a pattern of deceitful behavior, which included numerous false and/or fraudulent statements about his role at Freedom, his role in the sale of Freedom to Chemstream, and his knowledge about conditions at the Etowah Facility.
The FBI and EPA have started an investigation into Freedom Industries for any violations of the Clean Water Act. Southern testified under oath that during the period of time that the spill happened, he wasn’t an employee of Freedom Industries. He’d later admit that he worked part-time as a consultant.