Sustained Outrage

Water commission looking at CSB’s Freedom report

Freedom tanks


There’s more scrutiny coming for the U.S. Chemical Safety Board’s controversial report on the Freedom Industries chemical spill.

Earlier today, a committee of West Virginia’s Public Water Supply Safety Study Commission indicated it was going to review the CSB report more closely because of the concerns that have been raised about it by citizens and scientists (see here, here and here).

Readers may recall that the PWSSSC (phew) was charged by the Legislature with, among other things, reviewing a longstanding CSB recommendation that the Kanawha Valley and West Virginia establish a local chemical accident prevent program. When the Freedom spill happened, state and local officials had never acted on that CSB recommendation, and as part of the post-spill legislation on above-ground chemical storage tanks, lawmakers decided to revisit it by having the commission take a look.

During a meeting this morning in Charleston, the commission’s committee that is looking at the CSB recommendation said it plans later this month to urge the entire commission to adopt a recommendation to the Legislature that the CSB proposal be implemented. This would obviously be a big deal — though given the GOP’s continued control of the Senate and House, it’s possible it will be dead on arrival at the statehouse.

The water safety commission has another meeting set for Nov. 22 where it will consider and vote on the issue.

Meanwhile, commission member Evan Hansen suggested, and the commission agreed, that the committee looking at the CSB recommendation also take a closer look at the concerns that have been raised about the CSB report on Freedom. A lawyer for the commission said that if the panel decides it has problems with the CSB report, it could include those concerns in its annual report to the Legislature, which is due Dec. 15.