Tuesday, January 14, 2014

WVA Republican Says Right Before Chemical Spill: "We Are Regulated To Death."

Just hours before an essentially unregulated business in West Virginia spilled chemicals into the Elk River, a Republican member, Mr Azinger, of the West Virginia Legislature said: "We are regulated to death."

That's impossible to make up.  Will Bunch has the story here:

"Freedom Industries" (you again cannot make this up) has 13 tanks that can store 4 million gallons of chemicals right next to the Elk River, a principal drinking water source for at least 300,000 West Virginians who have been told not to use their public water supply for anything other than flushing toilets.

The no-drink, no-wash, no-bathe order resulted from Freedom spilling the chemicals it supplies to the coal industry for cleaning coal (again you cannot make this stuff up) into the Elk river and polluting drinking water.

So when was the last time environmental regulators inspected Freedom's operations? Since Mr. Azinger screams about regulation-to-death, surely recently and frequently would be the answer.

Well, no.

The last time Freedom was inspected by environmental regulators was apparently 1991!

This West Virginia case shows how important strong regulation is to public safety and a good economy. Also, it demonstrates the folly of putting toxic material storage right by rivers and without proper leak and spill protections to compound the danger.

Finally, Freedom Industries proves that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court rightly struck down Act 13 and restored the right of municipalities to separate industrial activity from residential areas, if they wish.