Monday, January 13, 2014

Chemical spill in West Virginia: Koch brothers' Freedom Industries had freedom from EPA regulations

Sign petition to hold Freedom Industries responsible. UPDATE

Oh, by the way, says Freedom Industries, there was a second chemical leaking from that tank
by Meteor Blades
Daily Kos
Jan 21, 2014

Chemicals, schemicals, you can't expect Freedom Industries to keep track of all of them.

Ken Ward Jr. at the Charleston Gazette reports:

Federal and state investigators learned today that an additional chemical that wasn't previously identified was in the tank that leaked on Jan. 9 at the Freedom Industries tank farm just upstream from West Virginia American Water's regional drinking water intake.

Company officials told investigators that the "Crude MCHM" that spilled also contained a product called "PPH," which stands for polyglycol ethers, according to the U.S. Chemical Safety Board.

The chemical, the company claims, has "low oral toxicity."

Uh-huh. And it's probably as safe for pregnant women as the other stuff they spilled into the Elk River.

by GleninCA

The Koch brothers

WV: Freedom Industries Has Ties to Koch Brothers
Daily Kos
Jan 11, 2014

Very briefly ...

If news reports have left you with the impression that Freedom Industries - the company that has contaminated the water supply serving 300,000 people (and who knows how much wildlife) in nine West Virginia counties - is a rinky-dink Charleston operation, that might be because the media isn't mentioning its influential ties.

In 2008, Freedom Industries was specially selected by Georgia-Pacific Chemicals as a distributor of G-P's Talon brand mining reagents for West Virginia, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, Minnesota, Kentucky and Michigan.

Georgia-Pacific Chemicals is, of course, a subsidiary of Georgia-Pacific, which was acquired by Koch Industries in 2005.

"We are excited to offer our customers inventive products like Talon that push past the status quo in coal recovery to bring profit and productivity benefits to mining preparation plants," said Joshua Herzing, director of business development for Freedom Industries. "Georgia Pacific's longstanding technical expertise and R&D capabilities combined with the industry knowledge, skill and reputation of Freedom Industries will provide an excellent platform for growth and development of new technology to meet existing and future customer demands. We are proud to be part of Georgia-Pacific's strategy as a global supplier of mining reagents in multiple market segments."

There's lots more to the story, People.

SURPRISE: Water-Poisoning Freedom Industries Had ‘Freedom’ From EPA Regulations!
John Prager
January 13, 2014

Freedom Industries, the company that freely and negligently poisoned the water supply in nine West Virginia counties with a chemical used in the coal industry, seems to be enjoying a lot of freedom from EPA regulations. According to the New York Times, the company is exempt from Environmental Protection Agency rules because it stores chemicals, rather than produces them.

The tank, which leaked over 7,500 gallons of 4-Methylcyclohexane Methanol (2,500 more than previously estimated) into West Virginia’s Elk River, had reportedly been leaking for an extended period of time. MCHM is not lethal unless ingested in large quantities, but can cause non-stop vomiting, burning throat, blisters, and other “poor people problems.” CEO Dennis P. Farrel’s fur-wearing girlfriend told Facebook that she was able to brush her teeth and shower therefore, despite Governor Earl Ray Tomblin declaring a state of emergency and numerous experts urging customers not to drink the water or use it for anything besides “flushing,” she feels that “no one and no thing” has been harmed due to the leakage.

Farrell himself has avoided facing the public for his company’s reprehensible and irresponsible lack of safety measures, but president Gary Southern has made it very clear that…he doesn’t care either.

The leak has been shut off and levels of the chemical are slowly dropping, but residents still do not know when their water will be declared safe by anyone who is trying to deny that there is a problem. Governor Tomblin has promised to look into tightening regulations relating to chemical storage facilities. “There are certain reporting things that companies have to do,” he said. “And I do think we have to look at them to make sure this kind of incident does not happen again.”

President Obama has declared a federal emergency, and federal law enforcement authorities have opened an investigation into the release of the chemical.

FEMA has brought in over 360,000 gallons of water to the nine counties affected by Koch-affiliated Freedom Industries‘ “freeing” of a dangerous chemical into the water supply, but residents are still having trouble even finding clean water at the store. Over 120 people to date have gone to the hospital reporting nausea and vomiting.

EXCLUSIVE: Girlfriend of CEO Whose Company Poisoned WV Water Plays the Victim While Enjoying Lavish Lifestyle
John Prager
January 12, 2014

“I showered and brushed my teeth this morning and am just fine,” may seem like an odd justification for poisoning the water that supplies nine counties and over 300,000 people ... that logic comes from the girlfriend of the CEO of Freedom Industries...

Social media strategist Kathy Stover-Kennedy, Freedom Industries CEO Dennis P. Farrell’s girlfriend spoke out on Facebook, saying that poor Denny has been receiving threats over his company’s lax, uncaring, and completely unfair treatment following the incident. She remarks on the backlash her beloved has received over his avoidance of publicly addressing the matter, saying that he “is not a spokesperson and has no desire to be.” She elaborates, indicating that he is too important to address such mundane matters as the poisoning of an entire population’s water supply himself in a Facebook post. Besides, according to her, there is no public danger for this “accidental” failure to identify what has been deemed a likely long-term leakage from a company tank.

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