Bad Day For West Virginians

Ken AshfordEnvironment & Global Warming & EnergyLeave a Comment

Although… the West Virginian who I'm thinking of is named Pat McGeehan.  Pat McGeehan is a 34 year old "constitutional conservative" running for U.S. Senate in 2014.  From his campaign website:

Pat McGeehan is a strong proponent for constitutional government. Since returning to West Virginia from active duty military service, he has traveled across the state in order to spread the message of America’s Founding Fathers. Pat demonstrated his principles after being elected in 2008 to represent the heavily Democratic House District 1, as a constitutional conservative Republican. During his time in the House of Delegates, Pat introduced legislation to reduce government such as the Firearms Freedom Act, the Repeal of the Food Tax, the Repeal of the Personal Income Tax, as well as his efforts to urge West Virginia government to reassert state rights as defined in the Constitution’s Tenth Amendment.

Yup, he's one of those.

And what is one of the main planks of McGeehan's run for office?

As your US Senator, I will continue to oppose any anti-coal legislation, and fight to eliminate the EPA. Not only is this the real solution to defending ourselves against this horrendous war on our coal industry, it is the right thing to do. Under the Constitution, the federal government is not granted these powers to begin with. Returning environmental regulatory powers back to the States is mandated by the 10th Amendment in the Bill of Rights. We know what is best for us in West Virginia, not bureaucrats in Washington D.C.

Sure.  Abolish the Environmental Protection Agency.  After all,what do they do but protect the environment?

So poor Pat woke up to this news:

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Schools and restaurants closed, grocery stores sold out of bottled water, and state legislators who had just started their session canceled the day's business after a chemical spill in the Elk River in Charleston shut down much of the city and surrounding counties even as the extent of the danger remained unclear.

The federal government joined the state early Friday in declaring a disaster, and the West Virginia National Guard planned to distribute bottled drinking water to emergency services agencies in the nine affected counties. In requesting the federal declaration, which makes federal resources available to the state, state officials said about 300,000 people were affected.

Federal authorities are also launching an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the spill and what caused it, U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said in a news release Friday.

Shortly after the Thursday spill from Freedom Industries hit the river and a nearby treatment plant, a licorice-like smell enveloped parts of the city, and Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin issued an order to customers of West Virginia American Water: Do not drink, bathe, cook or wash clothes with tap water.

The chemical, a foaming agent used in the coal preparation process, leaked from a tank at Freedom Industries and overran a containment area. Freedom, a manufacturer of chemicals for the mining, steel, and cement industries, said in a news release Friday that the company is working to contain the leak to prevent further contamination. President Gary Southern also said the company still does not know how much of the chemical spilled from its operation into the river.

Well done, coal industry.  Now think for a moment if Pat McGreehan had been elected and got his wish of no EPA, no enviormental regulations.  Not only would this thing happen a lot more, but even as it happens, nothing can be done about it.

As for the culprit, Freedom Industries — well, you can tell what they're about, too.  Their website is all American flags and bald eagles.  Here's their statement, within the past hour:

“Since the discovery of the leak, safety for residents in Kanawha and surrounding counties has been Freedom Industries’ first priority. We have been working with local and federal regulatory, safety and environmental entities, including the DEP, Coast Guard, Army Corp of Engineers and Homeland Security, and are following all necessary steps to fix the issue.  Our team has been working around the clock since the discovery to contain the leak to prevent further contamination.  At this point, Freedom Industries is still working to determine the amount of 4-methylcyclohexanemethanol, or Crude MCHM, a chemical used in processing coal, that has been released, as the first priority was safety, containment and cleanup. 

Freedom Industries is in the process of setting up an Incident Command Center on site. As more factual information is made available, we will keep you updated.”

Emphasis mine.  In other words, they don't know yet how badly they fucked up nine counties in West Virginia.

What do you think now, Mr. McGeehan and like-minded West Virginians?  Environmental protections — good or bad?