Better Late than Never: WV Governor Orders Removal of Freedom Industry Tanks

Governor Tomblin, according to a January 25, 2014 news release, has ordered Freedom Industries to begin the process of dismantling, removing and properly disposing of all of its above-ground storage tanks, as well as associated piping and machinery, at its Etowah River Terminal in Charleston, WV, by March 15, 2014.

fuel tanksLawmakers normally respond to public sentiment; this is how our representative system of government works.   When enough interested citizens and injury victims voice support for better laws, it is up to the lawmakers to respond and choose between helping the corporations make more money and helping to keep our population safe from wrongdoers and unsafe conditions.

Lawmakers thus far have not completely caved into the desires of the corporations and insurance companies, because a majority of people have voiced their outrage over corporate greed and their role in causing an increase in incidents involving serious injuries and deaths.   It takes a constant flow of information to lawmakers about injury victims’ plights, and that’s where trial lawyers and their associations are effective in protecting your rights.

One of the reasons the chemicals spilled into the Elk River was the lack of adequate secondary containment areas, which meant the only place for the chemicals to go if leaked from the tank, was into the soil and river.  This is exactly what happened on January 9, 2014, when the magnitude of this spill caused the shut down of all drinking water to nine West Virginia counties, 300,000 people, and a great number of businesses.

For the original story about the Charleston, WV Chemical Spill, see our article, “Chemical Spill Sickens Hundreds” published January, 11, 2014.

The Governor has ordered Freedom Industries to move all the contents of the remaining fourteen tanks by the Elk River to an off-site facility that provides adequate secondary containment.  All of the tanks holding the MCHM and PPH (PPH was about 7% of the chemicals leaked) chemicals are now empty, but the remaining fourteen tanks include Calcium Chloride and Glycerin.

Calcium chloride is a type of calcium salt used for many purposes, including de-icing sidewalks and acting as a stabilizer in foods.  Some dangers exist if too much calcium chloride enters the body.  If ingested, calcium chloride can cause burning pain in the stomach, nausea, and vomiting.  Another possible symptom of prolonged exposure to calcium chloride is dry and irritated skin.

Freedom Industries will also be required to provide the WVDEP with reports of the progress of this relocation of chemicals and materials.

Questions about your legal rights when you have been exposed to toxic chemicals or questions about financial losses for your business?  Call the Robinette Legal Group in Morgantown, WV today:  304-594-1800 or just click here to visit our website.

Source:, “Gov. Tomblin orders Freedom Industries to dismantle, remove, properly dispose of above ground storage tanks,” January 25, 2014.

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