HomeTEApublicans in ActionWest Virginia Chemical Spill Leaves 300K With Poisoned Water, Meanwhile Tea Party Pushes for Even MORE Deregulation

West Virginia Chemical Spill Leaves 300K With Poisoned Water, Meanwhile Tea Party Pushes for Even MORE Deregulation

Federal prosecutors are opening an investigation into a West Virginia chemical spill that has contaminated drinking water for more than 300,000 people. As a result of the catastrophe, state officials are still uncertain as to when the water will be drinkable again.

This Thursday at a storage facility owned by on the Elk River, a 48,000-gallon tank began leaking 4-Methylcyclohexane Methanol, or MCHM, a compound used to wash coal of impurities, went on to affect the city of Charleston and 9 surrounding counties, according to the state’s Department of Environmental Protection.

The chemical, which some say smells like licorice, can cause headaches, eye and skin irritation, and difficulty breathing. Officials are still trying to determine how much of the chemical had leaked into the river or what its potential health impact could be.

Health officials for the Kanawha-Charleston and the Putnam County health departments ordered the closure of all restaurants, tattoo parlors and schools that rely on water from the West Virginia American Water company.

According to the West Virginia Department of Education’s website, starting this Friday schools would be closed across many counties, including Boone, Cabell, Clay, Jackson, Kanawha, Lincoln, Pocahontas, and Putnam.

Governor Earl Ray Tomblin declared a state of emergency for nine counties as a result of the spill.

“West Virginians in the affected service areas are urged not to use tap water for drinking, cooking, washing or bathing,” Tomblin said in a statement. “Right now, our priorities are our hospitals, nursing homes and schools.”

Many see this latest environmental disaster as a result of the push for deregulation by many conservative groups. With little government oversight, it’s been shown time and time again that privatized industry is willing to put the public’s health at grave risk.

“We don’t know that the water is not safe, but I can’t say it is safe,” Jeff McIntyre, president of West Virginia American Water Company, which supplies most of the household water in the area, said at a news conference on Friday. “The only appropriate use for this water is toilet flushing.”

Watch a clip from McIntyre’s press conference below:

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About Sky Palma

Sky Palma
Sky Palma lives in Los Angeles and has been writing about politics, current events and religion for over a decade. He's also the head editor and founder of deadstate.org.

22 comments

  1. We don’t know that the water is not safe, but I can’t say it is safe,” Jeff McIntyre, president of West Virginia American Water Company, which supplies most of the household water in the area, said at a news conference on Friday. Bullcrap! Find a scientist with a $15 pool water testing kit. Put some water from the water supply in the little beaker, put the top on, and shake it up. If the water changes color; i.e., doesn’t sty clear, than the water is not safe to drink….

    Kevan, I’m not saying you’re wrong, but if they unless they have a completely different water supply not fed by the Elk River, their water is undrinkable too.

  2. Shouldn’t the CEOs of these companies take a bath? And drink some of their own firewater?

  3. While I certainly don’t agree with all Obama has done or is doing, I’m much more satisfied, Charlie, with Presiden t Obama than with President Bush 41, 43 or Reagan the senile. Suggest that if you don’t like what is written here then don’t read here, but wait-keep reading what’s written here after all, you might learn something if you can resist the urge to troll! President Obama-That aggravates the hell out of you doesn’t it?

  4. West Virginia has fallen prey to big business. Rules and laws have been passed over the years to protect the general public. Legislation and regulations must be totally adhered to for the safety of everyone in the nation. The Republican poverty agenda is the same it’s always been. Cut funding for all federal programs that would benefit the middle class and those at the lower end of the spectrum. That includes seniors on a limited budget, mothers with children women needing medical assistance because they are poor. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to decipher this. TEA-types, Republicans and Libertarians have been and will continue to fight against every program implemented since Social Security was implemented back in 1935. Local, state and federal rules and regulations must be implemented and followed to keep the greater good of the nation at the forefront.
    ( http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/07/arts/television/the-poisoners-handbook-on-pbss-american-experience.html )
    Elections do have consequences at the local level, the state level and nationally!
    NOT VOTING IS LIKE VOTING FOR THE OPPOSITION!
    V.O.T.E.(Vote Out The Encumberance)

    • I agree. The GOP has been rolling back regulations since Reagan. He started his deregulation with the Air Traffic Controllers. Regulations have come at a heavy price, usally after injuries and deaths of workers and consumers. We NEED regulations, because as we have found out in West , Texas and Bangladesh, big business will only do the minimum the law requires. Time and time again, business and industry has resisted inexpensive fixes to solve problems, dangers, safety hazards, environmental dangers and the like. Much of the Union movement’s history is a lesson in why we need regulation. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-macaray/we-need-more-government-r_b_3456640.html

      History is replete with lessons in why we need regulations. Look at the “See Also” section of this Wikipedia article. I have taught units on the Long Gilded Age through the Depression and on through WWII and Labor in the post War/Cold War era. The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire and other accidents are standard examples of why we need regulations on business and industry. Needs my change over time and demands of technology, but the need for regulations don’t disappear, they only change. Regulations often need to be updated or changed, but not eliminated. The discontinued use of DDT or asbestos, does not mean we should repeal or eliminate the regulation against using them, but that perhaps we should fine tune the regulation. If nobody uses it anymore, we no longer need to look for it when buildings are demolished if none of the buildings being demolished in a town were built using asbestos. The same applies to lead. No need to eliminate that regulation either, because it has not become safe to use led in toys or paint…. Here is the Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regulation.

  5. I think some one should go to prison for this

  6. Bet the CEO’s and politicians water supply isn’t affected at all, especially “Democrat” Sen. Joe Mansion who’s a real big supporter of coal and Gov. Tomlin! No, they have nice places out in the country away from all that polluted water the lessers have to drink and bathe in. When will we voters learn? Especially you Republican voters? Sigh. Probably never cause you’re trained by Fox to believe the Tea Party and GOP propaganda!

    • [email protected]

      how’s your hero Obama doing with his ” one term or done” fix of the economy, his ” keep your doctor if you like him” Obamacare, the sell our soldiers, diplomats and security down the river,,his gun running ATF, his ” most transparent government ,,etc etc,? about as well as Romney’s billionaire club? You Liberals are just like the Conservatives,, you spew your lies and ” us not them” rhetoric that has slowly but surely perverted and weakened the fabric of this country . You’ve all made us a laughing stock of the world with your shameless ” Defend the PArty” and Forget the Citizen BS. I wouldn’t vote for another Republican or Democrat again.

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