Chemical storage regulation proposed in wake of West Virginia spill

[JURIST] New legislation has been proposed to tighten regulations on chemical storage facilities following a chemical spill that contaminated the water supply for 300,000 West Virginia residents. 7,500 gallons of coal-cleaning chemicals leaked from an above-ground storage tank in Charleston owned by Freedom Industries and entered the Elk River on January 9. In response, West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin [official website] proposed a bill [AP report] that would require annual inspections of above-ground chemical storage tanks which are currently exempt from such oversight due to a loophole in the existing regulatory scheme. US Senator Joe Manchin [official website] has called for similar legislation requiring regular inspection for any chemical facilities that could threaten a public water system.

Chemical spills and water contamination have been highly publicized topics in environmental legislation. Earlier this month a federal appeals court upheld a multibillion dollar settlement [JURIST report] for those facing financial loss from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill [JURIST news archive]. XTO Energy, a subsidiary of Exxon Mobil [corporate websites], was charged [JURIST report] in September 2013 for a 2010 spill of more than 50,000 gallons of contaminated wastewater in Pennsylvania with alleged violations carrying potential prison sentences. In June 2013 Illinois instituted the nation's most restrictive fracking legislation [JURIST report], requiring drillers to apply for permits, provide frackwater samples, and to store used frackwater in above-ground tanks.

 

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.