We are beginning the fourth week of the 2014 Legislative Session here in Charleston and we are still dedicating a lot of our time and effort toward the recent chemical leak. Many southern residents now have access to usable, running water; however, we are still seeking answers to figure out how and why this water crisis happened. Freedom Industries, the company responsible for leak, has recently come forward revealing that another chemical, PPH, was also in the holding tank that leaked. West Virginia American Water Company, along with state officials, is working to test the water for PPH, but believes it would have been removed with the Crude MCHM chemical.
Learning of a second chemical that was leaked into water used and consumed by West Virginians every day 12 days after the leak is inexcusable. The Legislature is taking the chemical spill and recent developments very seriously. The Joint Oversight Commission on State Water Resources is currently investigating the leak and meeting with experts to explore ways to prevent a crisis like this from happening again.
I am co-sponsoring Senate Bill 373, which will protect all water resources throughout the state by requiring registration and inspection on all aboveground storage facilities that aren’t currently registered or being inspected. This bill will help protect water across the entire state that is used and consumed by West Virginians every day. While many regions of the state were not affected by this water crisis, a situation like this one could happen anywhere. This legislation would protect the people that were affected by the chemical spill, but would also ensure that those who weren’t affected will never have to experience going days without usable, running water due to chemical contamination.
There are obvious glaring gaps in regulation of chemical storage facilities in West Virginia. While the lack of regulation that, in part, lead to this chemical spill are indefensible, I hope that West Virginians can find comfort in knowing that their elected officials and state departments are working tirelessly to improve regulation and ensure the health and safety of the people of this great state.
To write me, my address is Senator Sam Cann, State Capitol, Building 1, Room 218-W, Charleston, WV 25305. You can also call me at 304-357-7904. I encourage all of my constituents to contact me with any questions or concerns.