Responding to the Freedom Industries chemical spill
Here’s the quote from Gov. Tomblin’s press conference yesterday, as reported in the Charleston Gazette:
“It’s your decision,” the governor told reporters during a news conference at the Capitol. “If you do not feel comfortable drinking or cooking with this water, then use bottled water.”
Thus the Governor, like Pontius Pilate, washed his hands of his obligations to 300,000 WV American Water customers. FEMA was around for a few days delivering water. WV American Water
has been dispensing initially dispensed water supplies to local fire departments using its still contaminated water*. And WV American. The Governor, local health departments are all claiming that their made-up “safety” standard, based on 15 year old studies of only one of six chemicals that are still in WV American’s water, absolves them of all responsibility to provide safe water to WV American’s customers. The Charleston Gazette has even reported that some health care professionals are minimizing the health impacts of drinking and bathing in contaminated water.
Keep in mind that even though WV American is “giving” its customers 1000 gallons of water credit on their bills to flush their homes, even customers who use no water this month will still be charged a minimum bill. Also, as Keryn Newman points out on StopPATH WV, it is quite likely that rate payers will be charged for this 1000 gallon credit at some point in the future when WV American Water applies to the WV PSC for its next rate increase.
So that’s it. “It’s your decision” whether you want to drink (and pay for) still contaminated water on which there is no safety information, or continue buying more water from local stores to protect your families.
Welcome to the world of deregulation and privatization that kicked into high gear with the Reagan Revolution in 1980. Regulation of industry is progressively stripped away. Industry pours money into pet politicians to continue to strip away public protection. Those same politicians, and the corporations that elected them, refuse to even provide emergency services when industry attacks the basic health and safety of citizens.
This is the world of West Virginia in 2014.
*After citizens rejected WV American Water’s contaminated water, fire departments and other water suppliers have been filling their tanker trucks from uncontaminated sources. You should always check if water has come from WV American Water before you put it into your containers, but the original problems appear to have been solved. No one appears to be distributing WV American Water any more.