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W.Va. House passes "Chemical Spill" bill

Water Crisis
WSAZ 3 News Channel is reporting that the so-called "chemical spill" bill, more formally known as the Water Protection Act, has been passed, in a 95-0 vote, by the West Virginia House of Delegates. The W.Va. House and Senate will need to work out a compromised by the end of the session, which occurs this Saturday.

This year's legislative session began on Jan. 8th.  The next day 10,000 gallons of the chemical MCHM spilled from the storage facility Freedom Industries into the Elk River, just upstream of the West Virginia American Water Company‚Äôs water treatment plan. The leak contaminated water for 300,000 residents in nine counties.

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On Tuesday, some groups, including the W.Va. Sierra Club and Citizen Action Group had claimed that the House Finance Committee stripped crucial protections from the bill.  Before approving the bill late on Wednesday, the House passed an amendment restoring medical monitoring to the bill.

In related news, WCHS Eyewitness News reports that Environmental and legal activist Erin Brockovich expressed concerns Wednesday about remain of MCHM sticking to plumbing and fixtures in water systems affected by the contaminated water. 

Below, RT America video, originally published on Jan 10, 2014, on the chemical spill:



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W.Va. grassroots groups assist during state's water crisis


Elk River at Charleson, WV
An article published Feb. 27th at WagingNonViolence.org notes that just hours after 10,000 gallons of MCHM spilled in the Elk River, just upstream of a municipal water system that serves nine counties, the grassroots organization WV Clean Water Hub began organizing water deliveries to those in need of water.

Soon, other West Virginia grassroots groups joined the relief effect, including Aurora Lights, Coal River Mountain Watch, Keeping of the Mountains Foundation, Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, and RAMPS.  

Now, about several weeks after the spill occurred, some residents are complaining that the water still has a strange odor, and some worry about chemical residues and long term effects of exposure to MCHM, according to a WaterOnline.com article.

In a Charleston Gazette article published in January, entitled What is "Crude MCHM"? Few know., the director of West Virginia Poison Center was quoted as saying "There's not much known about this chemical".  The article also notes that current Federal and state laws "set limits and mandate samples for only certain chemicals" and MCHM isn't one of them.


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