Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.
A coal industry company with a patriotic name has dumped toxic material into the West Virginia water system.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — More than 100,000 gallons of coal slurry poured into an eastern Kanawha County stream Tuesday in what officials were calling a “significant spill” from a Patriot Coal processing facility.
Emergency officials and environmental inspectors said that roughly six miles of Fields Creek had been blackened and that a smaller amount of the slurry made it into the Kanawha River near Chesapeake.
Additionally, there is debate over the severity of the spill. Some local officials believe it’s no big deal while others are far more concerned.
The spill also wasn’t promptly reported and no one really knows for sure when it occurred. And even if you’re being very generous about the lapse of time, at least 2 hours passed between the time of the spill and the time it was called in to the state.
Is there an echo in here?
State water officials currently estimate that at least 108,000 gallons of coal slurry leaked into the nearby creek and river and — wouldn’t you know — there may be Crude MCHM floating in it, or worse.
Aluise said that the facility uses the chemical Crude MCHM in its coal-cleaning process, and that DEP was testing the water in the spill area for that chemical.
Coal slurry contains a variety of substances that could be more toxic than Crude MCHM, including other coal-cleaning chemicals and various metals.
Just 10,000 gallons of Crude MCHM leaked from a Freedom Industries facility into the Elk River outside Charleston in January, sickening hundreds and forcing schools and businesses to close.
According to Bloomberg, Patriot Coal just emerged from bankruptcy two months ago. And while it isn’t a consolation at the moment, Patriot was forced to declare bankruptcy because of stiff competition from cleaner and cheaper natural gas.
Any coal industry company with variations of “Freedom” or “Patriot” or “Liberty” in their name operating inside West Virginia should probably be given a roto-rooter inspection immediately.