Posted by: JanF | January 11, 2014

Hello? West Virginia? I have a few questions for you …

West Virginia Declares State Of Emergency After Coal Chemical Contaminates Drinking Water

Residents of nine counties in West Virginia have been told not to use or drink their water after a chemical used by the coal industry spilled into the Elk River on Thursday. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin declared a state of emergency as more than 100,000 customers, or 300,000 people, are without safe drinking water.

“Don’t make baby formula,” said West Virginia American Water Company president Jeff McIntyre. “Don’t brush your teeth. Don’t shower. Toilet flushing only.”

The chemical, 4-Methylcyclohexane Methanol (MCHM), is used to wash coal of impurities and spilled from a tank at Freedom Industries into the river. While the amount of MCHM that spilled wasn’t immediately known, West Virginia American Water has been conducting water quality testing every hour. According to Laura Jordan, a spokesperson with the water company, they believe the chemical is leaking at ground level and “there is a possibility this leak has been going on for sometime before it was discovered Thursday,” WSAZ reported.

First, why on earth was a chemical capable of doing that much damage within a 100 miles of a water source much less in a tank next to the river?

Second, no one knows how long it has been leaking? Do you just wait for people to get sick and die before you “look into it”?

Third, “Freedom Industries”? Hello, fake name alert!! Good luck trying to find these guys to pay for cleanup.

In America, the costs of free enterprise run amok are always borne by the citizens. When will we finally say “that cost is too high”?

That last question, by the way, is addressed to everyone in America, not just West Virginians.

The 6 Most Terrifying Facts About The Chemical Spill Contaminating West Virginia’s Drinking Water

1. No one knows when water will be safe to drink again.
2. No one knows when the leak started or how much has leaked into the Elk River.
3. The water company has had no contact with Freedom Industries, the company that manufactures the spilled chemical.
4. There is no standard process for testing the toxicity of the spilled chemical in water.
5. It’s unclear just how dangerous the diluted chemical is to drink or breathe.
6. The chemical may have leached into the soil.

When we destroy our drinking water, we are done. Period. The rest of it doesn’t matter any more.



  1. ALEC puppet Scott Walker is trying to turn Wisconsin over to mining companies.

    Our state has a billion dollar tourism industry that employs tens of thousands of people. The mining industry is promising “dozens” of jobs.

    Short sighted and plainly stupid.

  2. A well written article. Thank you for it. I live in the middle of the crisis area. And I’m afraid I can’t answer your questions. I wish I had the answers.

    • I am worrying about all the people affected by this: good luck to you and yours. The answer is to find ways to generate energy and create jobs that don’t require wrecking the environment.


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