What do you get when you take a company that is operated by a two-time convicted felon, has a very thirsty idiot as a president, and is blessed with a CEO who has his girlfriend lie in his stead because he’s “not a spokesperson,” then add an association with the Koch brothers, and throw in the ability to ignore many EPA regulations for good measure?
If you answered, “Everything for which the Tea Party has been fighting,” you’re correct! Recently, we saw that scenario play out in West Virginia. About 7,500 gallons of Methylcyclohexane Methanol leaked from a Freedom Industries tank (that had not been inspected since 1991) into the Elk River over an unknown period of time. Over three hundred thousand people were left without usable water–unless, of course, they wanted to experience severe vomiting, diarrhea, rashes, burns, or a glass of flaming H2O.
Residents went days without usable water, relying on the kindness of others, Obama’s FEMA stormtroopers, and the local water company, West Virginia American Water. West Virginia American water bungled the situation from the start, waiting until after business hours to notify residents of a problem they knew about in the morning. The company then hastily declared the drinking water safe, only to cause more than 100 people to need to visit the hospital with effects of the still-tainted water. While the water company claimed everything was fine, residents began to send photos of burned body parts and of their supposedly-safe water. In another black eye for WV American Water, it was caught red-handed filling relief trucks with the contaminated water after first claiming they were filled in another system.
A number of lawsuits have been filed against Freedom Industries following this gross negligence that has affected the lives of many West Virginians. However, Freedom has a plan. The company has filed for bankruptcy, as Chris Hayes explains, “In a move that seems designed to help protect it from creditors and more than two dozen lawsuits that residents and business owners have already filed.”
A company by the name of Mountaineer Funding LLC is providing Freedom Industries with its bankruptcy loan. Mountaineer Funding is what a Libertarian might call a “fresh upstart that’s going places.” In what seems to be a stroke of good luck, the company came into existence the very same day Freedom Industries filed for bankruptcy. In fact, Freedom was so impressed by the young company that it chose Mountaineer right away!
Mountaineer Funding is headed by two officers, one of whom is J. Clifford Forrest–a man whose name is very reminiscent of Mr. J. Clifford Forrest, the owner of Freedom Industries. This may seem a bit sketchy, but as Hayes reminds us: West Virginia is a state that is geared more toward corporate interests than the good of the people–and that needs to change.
Watch Chris Hayes lay out the dismal situation below: