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West Virginia Water

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Sure am glad the relevant agencies declared West Virginia water safe now after the Freedom Industries chemical spill:

“What we are seeing when we talk to our partners in hospital systems are people with skin and eye irritation, rashes, nausea, upset stomach and diarrhea,” Rahul Gupta, health officer for the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department said.

The Daily Mail reports:

[Gupta] said 101 patients visited area emergency rooms in the 36-hour span ending at 7 a.m. Wednesday morning, reporting symptoms related to exposure to tainted water. He said 46 of those allegedly water-related emergency room visits occurred between 7 p.m. Tuesday night and 7 a.m. Wednesday morning.

Gupta said many of those patients reported using water that was deemed safe to use by West Virginia American Water. As of Wednesday afternoon, the “do not use” order has been lifted for 51,600 of the 100,000 customers affected by the chemical spill.

Why it’s almost like the entire state government of West Virginia is bought and sold by the coal industry and perhaps may not have the best interest of its citizens in mind!

By the way, the last time the factory was inspected? 1991. But of course the nation has too many burdensome regulations on business and too many unions getting in the way of Freedom.

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  • Barry Freed

    Why am I not surprised?

    Hell, it must have left residue all over pipes as well. If I lived there no way would I drink that just because they said it was safe. BTW, does this leave the relevant state government agencies open to EPA regulatory control?

    • As I understand it, the offending chemical is not covered by any existing regulations.

      I’d love to be wrong on this one.

      • Trollhattan

        FWIW it’s not listed in the EPA IRIS data base.

        http://cfpub.epa.gov/ncea/iris/index.cfm?fuseaction=iris.showSubstanceList&list_type=alpha&view=M

        Frankly, the regulators are not set up to evaluate even the dozens of new industrial chemicals that come to market yearly, much less pore through the vast list of existing ones.

        Related–IIUC the faciltiy that leaked is for “storage” and thus, not regulated as a factory. Yay, Freedom.

        • The whole incident and all of the underlying issues provides much evidence to the growing failure of the American regulatory state. Which of course is the clear goal of the Republican Party.

          • Jennifer Steel

            Which of course is the clear goal of the Republican Party.

            Your powers of second sight, the reaching into the minds of others…is Amazing!!

            • Trollhattan

              Yes, if by “reaching into their minds” you mean, “Listening to what they say and reading what they write and observing how they legislate and administer.”

              • Malaclypse

                To be fair to Jennie, basic observational skills are far beyond his comprehension, and must seem like magic to him.

          • Erik:
            Want to be any more stupid? Plenty of Democrats hate the regulatory state. Obama appointed one(Cass Sunstein) to a very important position. When was the last time a GOP was the Governor of WV? Are you claiming Tomblin and Manchin are GOPers? How about the WV House of Delegates? You do realize Democrats have controlled that since the 1930’s, right?

            • Clearly the only alternative then is revolutionary socialism.

              • Fine, be a jackass.

                • trollhattan

                  The Romney EPA would have totally come up with this very same conclusion.

                  A government report indicates a large-scale copper and gold mine in Alaska’s Bristol Bay region could have devastating effects on the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery and adversely affect Alaska Natives, whose culture is built around salmon.

                  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday released its final assessment of the impact of mining in the Bristol Bay region. Its findings are similar to those of an earlier draft report, concluding that, depending on the size of the mine, up to 94 miles of streams would be destroyed in the mere build-out of the project, including losses of between 5 and 22 miles of streams known to provide salmon spawning and rearing habitat. Up to 5,350 acres of wetlands, ponds and lakes also would be lost due to the mine footprint.

                  The report concludes that “large-scale mining in the Bristol Bay watershed poses significant near- and long-term risk to salmon, wildlife and Native Alaska cultures,” EPA regional administrator Dennis McLerran said in a conference call with reporters.

                  http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2022673869_apxpebblemineepa.html

                • trollhattan:
                  Will they block the Keystone XL death funnel? They have a decidedly mixed record re: the environment.

                • Malaclypse

                  They have a decidedly mixed record re: the environment.

                  Yes, they do. You wish to trade that for the unblemished awfulness of the Republican record?

            • Scott Lemieux

              Obama appointed one(Cass Sunstein) to a very important position.

              I’m far from a fan of Sunstein but this is a ridiculous exaggeration.

              • How is it? Do you know what the office that Sunstein was appointed to does? And the importance it has had in the past 20 or so years?

                • Scott Lemieux

                  The position is important. The idea that Sunstein “hates the regulatory state” is a ridiculous exaggeration.

            • DrS

              Why, it’s almost as if you need more information than just party affiliation to make sense of who wields political power in the USA.

          • Trollhattan

            Somewhat OT but IIRC this topic is in your wheelhouse, yes?

            http://www.eugeneweekly.com/20131226/news-briefs/chemical-sprays-continue-sickening-rural-residents

            According to the petition, one helicopter, possibly two, made at least eight trips and pesticides were sprayed over streams that are the drinking water source for nearby homes. While Oregon has minimal buffer zones for fishbearing streams when spraying on private lands, Arkin says, there are no buffers for schools and nearby private property. While sprays are supposed to be kept on the property being sprayed, Arkin points out that without buffers, there is no way users can keep the toxic sprays from drifting onto the homes of their neighbors. Idaho and Washington have bigger and better buffers than Oregon, she says.

            Arkin also points out that applicators don’t just spray one chemical, they spray what she calls a “toxic soup” of various pesticides mixed together. While doctors did not get an answer to what was sprayed in Curry County, a vet calling about a dog that got sick from the spray was told the chemical soup included glyphosate, imazapyr, metsulfuron methyl, triclopyr, 2,4-D and crop oil. In addition to the human illness, horses and other pets were also affected by the spray, and Arkin says one dog is about to be euthanized due to the toxic effects.

            All that chemical goodness, in a supposedly hippie-run state.

            • I have a whole chapter in my logging book on herbicide spraying so thanks!

      • Vance Maverick

        I also read this — it was grandfathered in.

        • Davis X. Machina

          If it’s old, it’s grandfathered.
          If it’s new, it’s a trade secret.

          I’ll let you write the legislation if you let me write the regulations implementing it.

          • BigHank53

            Unless, of course, the chemical is dangerous enough that terrorists might want to steal it. Then I can keep it secret because national security: you wouldn’t want any “bad guys” getting hold of it, would you?

    • FMguru

      The EPA would also like to assure you that air around the World Trade Crater is entirely safe to breathe, and that rumors that it’s a toxic mix of asbestos, concrete, and unburnt fuel particles are just that – rumors.

  • Matt Minus

    Just another example of how the government can’t do anything right. The only sensible thing to do would be to abolish the agencies that declared the water safe and let people vote with their faucets.

    • carolannie1949

      After they die of poisoning. Voter suppression at work.

  • Some marketer needs to package some bottles of eerie green fluid as “West Virginia Drinking Water” and then start selling them for $1.99 each at gas stations, etc. in the surrounding states. Some underemployed English major could come up with an entertaining disclaimer.

    • You do not want any part of your body coming in contact with the happy fun water. That would not be fun at all.

  • Here in the Detroit area, response to a fire in a chemical recycling plant in Livonia led to a variety of nasty chemicals, including PCB’s, getting flushed into the storm sewer system, and from there into the Rouge River.

    It just keeps getting better.

  • Tom Servo

    An old grad school friend grew up in, went to undergrad in, and now works and lives in Morgantown. I was relieved to hear that his part of the state is ok but it’s a fucked up situation to say the least.

    • Sharon

      Morgantown is in the civilized part of the state. It even has a monorail.

      • JMP

        I hear that thing is awfully loud…

        • Hogan

          Is there a chance the track will bend?

          • ajay

            Not on your life my Irish friend!

  • DAS

    Diarrhea is just the expedited liberation of fecal matter. So diarrhea = freedom!

    • Freedom’s just another name for nothing left to lose.

      • Oh dear.

      • I think JB means “nothing left too loose.”

        • Your way is better.

        • “nothing left too loose.”

          What wreck?

          • Tyto

            What wreckdreck?

            FTFY.

  • JMP

    And according to John Boehner, this means we don’t need new regulations, but that the EPA is failing at enforcing existing regulations, which is all Obama’s fault, completely ignore how Congress has continually underfunded the EPA (along with most other federal regulatory agencies) ever since the Gingrich takeover.

    • And you completely ignore how Obama appoints people like Cass Sunstein to important posts that have power over regulations.

      • Davis X. Machina
      • JMP

        Yes yes, we’d have all been better off voting for Ralph Nader or Jill Stein and having either McCain or Romney as President. Whatever.

        • Trollhattan

          Boff sydze do eet, amirite?

        • Thank you for proving my point.

          • Hogan

            I was about to ask you what your point was, but then I remembered I don’t care.

            • Malaclypse

              Look, would Bob Akaviak appoint Cass Sunstein to anything? He. Wouldn’t. Even. Try.

          • JMP

            For that to be the case, you’d have to actually have a point.

    • efgoldman

      And according to John Boehner….

      Commenter Lex, over at Balloon Juice, calls Boehner Weeping Cheeto. I propose we adopt it as a new internet tradition.

  • Davis X. Machina

    Why is the Invisible Hand all covered with these red, indurate, itchy, oozing patches?

    • ericblair

      You don’t want to know where it’s been the last thirty years.

    • It got that from giving the Free Market … wait for it … Hand. Jobs. Waakaa, waakaa!

  • DrDick

    But Job Creators(TM)!

  • The EPA isn’t going to pass any new regulations because they know Joe Manchin would shoot them with his rifle.

  • 4-methylcyclohexane methanol is good for you…….right?

    • Lee Rudolph

      Practically the same as hexachlorophene!

      • DrS

        Heh, haven’t seen that move yet in this case, where they describe some chemical as being “one molecule away” from some other, as though that were a legit way to determine safety.

        Water is of course one molecule different than hydrogen, so that’ll have the same properties, right?

        • Just a Rube

          Not even a whole molecule; just one teensy atom difference between the two. Now excuse me, I have to build an airship full of water.

          • DrS

            And you can count on me to bring fire hoses spraying hydrogen in case that airship catches fire.

            • Hogan

              Oh, the humidity.

    • BigHank53

      Why, when I was a lad, we had to make do with just poly-chlorinated biphenols and the occasional bit of carbon tetrachloride. Kids these day….

      • Theophrastus Bombastus von Hoenhenheim den Sidste

        When I was a lad, I swam and canoed in a pond that was later determined to have hundreds of thousands of parts per million PCB in the muck by the shore. And look how I turned out!

  • Tom Stickler

    Just to be clear: the “safe to use” announcement came from West Virginia American Water company, not from any state or federal regulatory agency.

  • Deggjr

    Dilbert saw this coming in 1997: http://www.dilbert.com/fast/1999-09-27/

    • There was a time when life imitated art.

      • Now it imitates cartoons.

        • efgoldman

          Cartoon r’art!

      • herr doktor bimler

        Now it just irritates art.

  • Claud Alexander

    Erik, could I ask if you meant “bought and paid for”? My very tenuous understanding of “bought and sold” is that it means finished.
    Sorry if this is too time-wasting, but, as a resident foreigner, I always fall into this kind of rabbit-hole.

    Terrific post, obviously.

  • bexley

    Now now, the Alliance assures me that the release of G23 Paxilon Hydrochlorate into the water supply is nothing to worry about.

  • Patricia Kayden

    “Why it’s almost like the entire state government of West Virginia is bought and sold by the coal industry and perhaps may not have the best interest of its citizens in mind!”

    So let’s see if the good people of West Virginia vote them out ASAP and vote for politicians who believe in sensible regulation. Doubt it.

  • e.a.f.

    Perhaps those living in the area, will remember this the next time they go to vote. People may not be able to influence the grand scheme of things but they can ensure the politicians they vote for within their state ensure these types of things do not happen again. perhaps it is time for some to look at an enviornmental party. with out a clean enviornment we all die, from the poisons. Not to mention who is going to pay for the medical bills once people become ill from these toxins? It isn’t as if the medical system in the U.S.A. is that great.

    You’d think with all this toxic stuff floating around and making people ill the citizens of the country would demand a first rate FREE medical system.

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