August 1, 2014

Growing a Greener GOP From the Ground Up

Appropriate Regulation vs. Over-Regulation

Freedom Industries Elk River plant. Photo from Google Earth.

Freedom Industries Elk River plant. Photo from Google Earth.

A reporter from a Washington, D.C. political news media outlet called me yesterday to get my (ConservAmerica’s) comments on the toxic chemical spill in West Virginia.

The spill from a Freedom Industries tank yard situated alongside the Elk River caused a “no drinking—no bathing” order to be issued for more than 300,000 people in West Virginia. The chemical 4-methyl-cyclohexane-methanol, or MCHM, is used to clean coal. (Note: not for clean coal, but for cleaning coal).

The reporter asked me, “Will this stop the Republican Party from its “war on coal” rhetoric, and will they stop talking about over regulation?”

The first line of defense for environmental protection is state government. West Virginia’s governor’s mansion and legislature have been and are now firmly in Democratic control. The better question for the reporter to have asked is, how can we get West Virginia Democrats to recognize that a healthy environment should be a bi-partisan priority?

I pointed out to the reporter that leading Republicans have advocated for the end to mountain top removal (MTR), the hideous practice of blowing the tops off Appalachian mountains for easier access to coal seams. The waste material is pushed into valleys, ruining streams and the way of life for tens of thousands of people who’ve made those hollows home for generations. But, efforts to stop the practice have been thwarted by West Virginia’s Democrat elected officials.

Republicans are not opposed to appropriate regulation; we are opposed to over-regulation. Reports from West Virginia claim that the plant where the spill occurred had not been inspected by regulators since 1991. That’s not over-regulation by any definition. That’s not regulation by any term.

It’s past time for Democratic leadership in West Virginia to support appropriate regulation to protect citizens and the environment.

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Comments

  1. IT’S NOT SO MUCH ABOUT DEMOCRAT OR REPUBLICAN, IT’S ABOUT THE INFLUENCE OF MONEY.

    CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Last February, Freedom Industries sent state officials a form telling them the company stored thousands of pounds of a coal-cleaning chemical called 4-methylcyclohexanemethanol
    in the storage tanks at its Etowah River Terminal.

    CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Last February, Freedom Industries sent state officials a form telling them the company stored thousands of pounds of a coal-cleaning chemical called 4-methylcyclohexanemethanol in the storage tanks at its Etowah River Terminal

    See story about the West Virginia River chemical spill at http://www.wvgazette.com/News/201401110085

    U.S. opens probe of West Virginia chemical spill. Federal prosecutors launched an investigation Friday of a chemical spill that contaminated water supplies for several hundred thousand people and closed schools and businesses in the heart of the state. Wall Street Journal [Subscription Required]
    http://on.wsj.com/1hGXPMp

    West Virginia chemical spill: Is more regulation needed for toxic substances? The chemical spill in Charleston, W.Va., that contaminated the Elk River and left 300,000 residents without access to water raises new questions about the regulation of chemicals used in coal processing. Christian Science Monitor
    http://bit.ly/1ivCeUJ

    How dangerous is the coal-washing chemical spilled in West Virginia? Water is a universal solvent, capable of dissolving most elements on Earth. But it fails when it comes to completely cleaning coal. That’s where 4-methylcyclohexane methanol, MCHM for short, comes in.Scientific American
    http://bit.ly/KbUsOC

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