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Sun Jan 19, 2014, 02:45 PM


Almost Forgotten, West Virginia: Your Sunday Morning Conversation - HuffPo

Almost Forgotten, West Virginia: Your Sunday Morning Conversation
Jason Linkins - HuffPo
Posted: 01/19/2014 10:15 am EST


A week after a massive chemical spill at a Freedom Industries storage facility contaminated the Elk River in West Virginia with 7,500 gallons of 4-methylcyclohexane methanol and forced 300,000 residents of the state to go without potable, usable water, life is slowly starting to return to normal.

Well, that's the casual way of describing what's happening, anyway. In truth, the story continues to develop in sad and interesting ways. Two days after local authorities gave the all-clear and started to lift the ban on water usage, we found out that was a blown call -- area hospitals very quickly "saw an uptick in patients after the ‘do not use’ advisory was lifted," and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a warning to pregnant women, "Maybe don't drink this stuff, after all." (I am paraphrasing.)

Meanwhile, about 15 miles up I-64 from Charleston, in the town of Nitro, you'll never guess what's been discovered. Unless, of course, you immediately guessed, "Oh, there was probably another Freedom Industries chemical storage facility with a similar level of substandard containment and due cause to issue citations for multiple safety violations." In which case, points for you!

The good news, I suppose, is that timely scrutiny has been applied to another environmental time bomb. Lord knows that's not the norm. As National Geographic reported this week, the "coal-cleansing chemical that spilled from Freedom Industries' storage tank into the Elk River last Thursday is only the latest insult in what for some has been a lifetime of industrial accidents that have poisoned groundwater, spewed toxic gas emissions, and caused fires, explosions, and other disasters that neither state nor federal regulators have been able to protect against."

As one woman in that National Geographic article put it, "Welcome to our world..."


More: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/19/west-virginia-chemical-spill_n_4627394.html

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