The West Virginia Rivers Coalition (WVRC) released an independent report to the Governor and State Legislature outlining specific policy recommendations the group says are necessary to protect water sources and prevent future chemical spills like the Freedom Industries incident that affected 300,000 residents of nine counties.
The report, “The Freedom Industries Spill: Lessons Learned and Needed Reforms,” is the only independently produced report emerging since the January 9 chemical leak. The study focuses on key issues, information gaps, and policy remedies as they relate to three environmental laws most relevant to the chemical spill, including:
· Clean Water Act,
· Safe Drinking Water Act, and
· Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act
“We speak for those who expect more of our government – more in its approach and much more in its attitude toward protecting our water resources and our health,” said WVRC executive director Angie Rosser. “Our work supports West Virginians who demand meaningful change and accountability at every level of government.”
The report was co-authored by Downstream Strategies, a Morgantown-based consulting firm with extensive experience in environmental science and policy, chemistry, permitting, and water system research. Evan Hansen, president of Downstream Strategies explains, “This report presents comprehensive reforms to protect water supplies. We show how state and local governments could have significantly reduced the risk of this spill occurring and more effectively responded to it.”