In other news from the right wing Idiocracy now running the state down in Charleston, we have this:
A year after a toxic leak contaminated drinking water for 300,000 residents, West Virginia lawmakers are considering a series of proposals that would weaken a new chemical tank safety law, remove stronger pollution protections for streams across the state, and protect the coal industry from enforcement actions over violations of water quality standards.
Members of a coalition of citizen groups called the West Virginia Safe Water Roundtable held a news conference Monday at the Capitol to draw attention to their concerns and to urge lawmakers not to roll back the state’s clean water laws.
On Tuesday, one broad bill backed by the West Virginia Coal Association is up for passage in the Senate, and efforts to attach industry-backed amendments to a Department of Environmental Protection rules bill are expected in a House committee.***
Last week in the Senate, a committee began considering an amendment from the GOP-controlled majority that would not only remove the drinking water protections the DEP wants for the Kanwaha from the Senate version of the bill, but also end the DEP’s longstanding policy of enforcing the state’s so-called “Category A” drinking water standards on all rivers and streams across the state.
DEP Secretary Randy Huffman has pushed for drinking water standards to be applied to the Kanawha, to provide for a possible location for a secondary intake for West Virginia American Water’s Kanawha Valley plant on the Elk River, and Huffman has also spoken strongly against the West Virginia Manufacturers Association’s effort to end the statewide application of drinking water rules.
Meanwhile, the Senate is set during Tuesday’stoday’s floor session to consider passage of the “Coal Jobs and Safety Act” being promoted by the coal association as a way to make West Virginia’s mine operators more competitive as cheap natural gas, competition from other coal regions, the mining out of quality reserves and tougher federal environmental standards chip away at the local industry.
“The act is designed to encourage and foster a strong and robust coal industry in order to maintain our jobs and improve our ability to compete with coal from other states and countries,” the coal association said in a document outlining its legislative goals for the year.
Among other things, the bill (SB 357) as aimed at stopping successful citizen suits brought over mining company violations of Clean Water Act standards where those standards were not specifically written into state DEP permits and prohibiting the DEP from incorporating those standards into future coal permits. It also includes a long-sought change the coal industry wants to West Virginia’s water quality limit for aluminum.
This reads like an article from the Onion. The Republican response to the one year anniversary of the Elk River chemical spill is to weaken regulations, block new regulations, cockblock federal regulators, and then, for shits and giggles, make it impossible for citizens who have been poisoned to sue for redress.
These people are fucking sociopaths.
Congratulations, West Virginia. You wanted Republican rule, now you are getting it good and hard.
Also, congratulations to Massachusetts, Maryland and Illinois for the same thing. May you love your new Republican governors.
The real West Virginia is five years late bit is here:
More like fifty. Those jobs were decimated in the 80’s. Coal production is still existing, but not coal jobs.
What’s the chemical tank act called? ASSRAPE?
Where is it written in the Constitution that you are entitled to clean water?
You know, you really can’t get of your own state from inside it. You need to get out more.
I’m sure the states downstream won’t like this. *Looks at map.* Never mind
J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford
Not only does it have electrolytes but it’s good for the “economy.”
Kryptik, A Man Without A Country
When people said that we should keep this from ever happening again, most of the assholes in charge took it to mean ‘Companies should never have to face scrutiny again’. You know, Freedom from Consequences for corporations is second only to Freedom of Infinite Guns in the US.
J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford
That should be “ecomony.” Damn autocorrect.
Yep. But they are democratically elected sociopaths. The good people of WV have it in their power to not elect them again.
I actually snarked about the likelihood of this here. Corrolary: we can’t spend money on water quality measures because we’re pouring funding into a drug testing scheme for Lazy Entitled Takers to ensure that they’re not alleviating their righteous misery with anything stronger than Pirin tablets.
You get the government you deserve. The next couple of years will be exciting.
I’m going to wait 20 more years, and then I can’t wait to visit the West Virginia Plains. I expect by that point they’ll have the entire state leveled, stripped, and filled in, yes?
It’s a damn good thing all those rivers stop flowing right at WV state border and don’t spread that toxic shit to other states downstream. Wingtard geography for the win, yo.
You’re going to deny the WV healthcare industry new patients and new profits? How else are they supposed to get money from Obamacare after it gets killed?
@Librarian: FWIW, both houses of the Maryland legislature are Dem-controlled.
Whatever happened to wingnuts who wanted to protect our precious bodily fluids?
peach flavored shampoo
Until you show me the MSDS, I’m going to continue to believe that 4-methylcyclohexane methanol is as tasty as pie.
Another Holocene Human
Idiocracy my ass. They are criminals.
@Librarian: Wake me up when they control the state lege. You missed a spot: NY’s Gov Cuomo might as well be a GOPer. And then there’s NJ.
NJ is probably way less fucked than MD for the foreseeable future, IMO. You know, Maryland, that state Frederick Douglass couldn’t get out of fast enough.
I’d like to see the Dems use stuff like this to broadly defend the need for regulations, and actual regulators to enforce them.
When a major city has serious chemicals dumped in its drinking water, when half a town gets blown up when the fertilizer storage facility goes kaboom, when a whole state that’s had almost no earthquakes ever all of a sudden starts getting hundreds of them, maybe the Dems ought to make the point that this is why we need to regulate.
The GOP always can be counted on to argue against regulations. Unless someone argues for them, it’s not exactly the voters’ fault for simply assuming that regulations are bad, and shit like this just happens, end of story.
Another Holocene Human
@Alex: That’s vaccines! Wake up sheeple! They’re injected in our bodies! Nothing you drink can kill ya–least not iff’n yer a Christian!
Another Holocene Human
@boatboy_srq: Why we decided that weed was “enjoyable” and pills are “medicine” is a stumper for the ages. As a non-medical professional who interacts with “the public” I’d much rather deal with stoned clients that someone fucked up on opiates any day.
The free market is never wrong. Capitalism is the most efficient and fairest economic system devised by man. When practiced within a Christian society, free market capitalism will distribute wealth and success with omniscient clarity. Intervention in this holy cosmology is wrong and will not work. The government is the anti-Christ.
It’s time, as the bumper stickers say, to “Legalize Freedom.”
@Another Holocene Human: I take it you haven’t seen The Birdcage.
Great post! You made me laugh.
Oooh. I still remember enough organic chemistry that I could visualize the structure of that molecule just from the name.
And now that I’m done feeling proud of myself, I’m going to read the actual post.
@peach flavored shampoo:
Here you go. The answer seems to be, “The toxicological properties of this material have not been fully investigated.” The average layman might be surprised to see that we’re using tons of a chemical that we know nothing about, but this is par for the course. Fortunately, this suggests that last year’s spill has now provided us with some human toxicological data, so we may be able to fill in the blanks on the MSDS. I guess every cloud has a silver lining.
I thought it was just one particular person *cough* blackity-black black man *cough* in the Government, not the whole damn thing.
In my first go around in college, I was a geology major. A professor had lined up a field trip to WVA, for the class he was teaching that I was in and part of the trip was to meet a former grad student of his, who was the head geologist for a coal company.
He basically said all the easy to get at coal seems had been mined, which is one reason for the move to strip mining; to get at the had to reach seems.
This was back in 1996.
I think coal looks at the problems the tobacco industry could not forestall forever and decided that tobacco’s problem was a lack of regulatory capture.
I hear it gives the water a nice chewy consistency, too.
@CONGRATULATIONS!: I’m sure that idea is filed away somewhere for when they need it: “Home of the beautiful Appalachian Plains!”
I will never understand* why the people who scream “Government should be run like a bizness!” don’t think the state governments of WV, Kentucky etc. should actually act like businesses by turning to the coal industry and saying “Fine – you don’t like our regulations, leave. Go have a blast mining coal in Rhode Island or Connecticut or wherever.”
*Rhetorical flourish – of course I know why …
(Such an outpouring deserves to be marked properly!)
Hey, if the new drug testing for TANF recipients (many of whom will be served water from these rivers) turn up
4-Methylcyclohexanemethanol in their blood, doesn’t it provide evidence that the government can use against the coal companies? Or will that be passed off as just normal?
You like that? You like that West Virginia? Oh, baby, that’s it!! That’s it!!
Was it good for you? It was good for the GOP.
What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us?
Watch the coal industry die anyway at the hands of cheap natural gas. That’s the pathetic part. WV has two major natural assets – scenic beauty and coal. They’re killing the patient that’s still alive to save the one that’s already dead.
Alan in SF
It’s funny how if you ask a Libertarian how the Randian paradise would deal with someone, say, dumping massive poisons into the water supply of millions, they’ll say you can sue them after it happens. Except they’re against that, too.
@Alan in SF: It’s always entertaining to ask an Objectivist Randian Libertarian whether they support tort reform and why: the knots they tie themselves in trying to justify neutering the one check on corporate malfeasance that they accept can be most humorous.
Just start beating the drums about the mining-related chemicals harming fetuses and watch how fast they decide that the little darlings are durable enough that they don’t need protection.
Also, start asking the water agencies how much they will have to increase spending on water treatment if the source water has more pollution. Let the citizens know what will be coming out of their pockets so the owners and execs of the mining firms can keep more in theirs.
“4-Methylcyclohexanemethanol, It’s Got the Electrolytes We Need!”
Thank you for that reference. I believe the line was, “it’s got what plants crave; it’s got electrolytes.”
Do Idiocracy Starbucks next!
where are they (we) gonna live when we have water that we can’t even take a shower in…water we can’t drink..It seems like they’re trying to kill us…….why are we electing these guys?