Sustained Outrage

Don’t call us — not right away, at least

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Statehouse correspondent Phil Kabler reported in today’s Gazette that Gov. Joe Manchin’s bill (SB 279)  to require industrial plants to report significant accidents to authorities within 15 minutes had cleared the Senate Energy, Industry and Mining Committee.

As Phil explained, the committee’s substitute for Manchin’s bill includes language under which failure to report incidents within 15 minutes would carry a fine of “up to $100,000.”

It’s worth noting that this change is a potentially significant weakening from the governor’s proposal. As he did with the original legislation requiring reporting of mining accidents within 15 minutes (following the delayed reporting in both the Sago Mine disaster and the Aracoma Mine fire), Manchin mandated a fine of $100,000 for reporting violations. The committee’s version allows fines of less than that amount, at the discretion of the Director of the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

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Open letter to the Chemical Safety Board

Maya Nye from People Concerned About MIC passed on this Open Letter to the federal Chemical Safety Board about the board’s decision to cancel a public meeting about the deadly August 2008 explosion at the Bayer CropScience plant in Institute. The letter was signed by People Concerned and more than a dozen other citizen groups. Here’s what it says:

March 3, 2009

John Bresland, Chairman/CEO

U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board

2175 K. Street, NW, Suite 400

Washington, DC 20037-1809

Dear Chairman Bresland:

With the support of numerous international groups, I write to you on behalf of my community and as the spokesperson for People Concerned About M.I.C. to beseech you to hold a timely public hearing regarding the preliminary results of the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) investigation into the August 28, 2008 explosion at the Bayer CropScience facility in our community of Institute, West Virginia.

As you are well aware, our community is gravely concerned about the events that occurred that night as well as the lack of corporate accountability to our community that has been consistently displayed with this facility.

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