|By Bob Weaver|
While national reporters continue to question why criminal charges were not filed against Freedom Industries for a chemical spill that tainted the water of 300,000 WV water customers, they don't seem to understand that coal and chemical chemicals are too big to charge, only individuals who violate environmental laws get such charges.
The costs of such environmental disasters end up in court, with negotiations lasting years for the companies to "settle" on damages.
Spencer Newspaper editor David Hedges, in this week's opinion column, says there could be new stickers that express the public's outrage against regulators, like the "War on Coal," the stickers reading "I Love Coal."
Hedge's fanciful character in his column proposes a new PR campaign for the chemical industry, a sticker that says "I Love Chemicals."
Now comes a new report from the Kanawha Co. Health department about how many people were more likely affected by the chemical spill, minimized by state and federal officials.
100,000 May Have Felt Symptoms From MCHM
By Ken Ward Jr., Charleston Gazette
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Roughly 100,000 residents may have suffered skin reactions, eye irritation, nausea or other ailments after exposure to MCHM following the January leak of the chemical into the Kanawha Valley's Elk River water supply, according to new estimates made public Tuesday.
The estimates are based on physician reports to the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department and a household survey conducted by a University of South Alabama environmental engineer who was later hired by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to investigate the impacts of the Freedom Industries leak.
Dr. Rahul Gupta, executive director of the Health Department, said his calculations put the number of people who experienced such symptoms at nearly 93,000. Using slightly different calculations, environmental engineer Andrew Whelton, who is a leader of Tomblin's West Virginia Testing Assessment Program, put the figure at just less than 109,000.
Their reviews — which have yet to undergo peer review or be published in a scientific journal — project far greater public health impacts on the region's residents than numbers previously released by the state Department of Health and Human Resources.
The DHHR previously had said that 26 people were admitted to area hospitals and 533 treated at released at those facilities for symptoms that could have been related to the leak.
Those figures did not include any data for the day of the Jan. 9 leak or the day after. Also, the DHHR tracked only hospital treatments or admissions, and agency officials stopped counting after Jan. 23, records show.
"Those are probably gross underestimates of the true public health impacts," Gupta said. "It's the tip of the iceberg."...
Read more 100,000 May Have Felt Symptoms From MCHM By Ken Ward Jr. for the Charleston Gazette
Also DAVE PEYTON 2014: WEST VIRGINIA GETS WORSE, DESPERATE AND DEADLY - Innate Fatalism?
And WEST VIRGINIANS CLAIM TO LOVE THEIR MOUNTAIN WATER - Decades Of Toxins Ignored, Comes The Outcry, Then Business As Usual