January 10, 2014 9:25 am -

Putting a chemical storage facility near a river whose water is used for drinking represents yet another triumph of minimum government regulation and the free market in action! We report with zero irony that the name of the company whose chemical has caused the catastrophe is Freedom Industries:

A chemical spill into West Virginia’s Elk River has led to a tap water ban for up to 300,000 people, shut down bars and restaurants and led to a run on bottled water in some stores as people looked to stock up.

The only safe use for the company’s water is to flush down a toilet or put out a fire, Lawrence Messina, spokesman for the state Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety announced on Twitter Thursday evening.

West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin declared a state of emergency Thursday for nine counties and includes West Virginia American Water customers in Boone, Cabell, Clay, Jackson, Kanawha, Lincoln, Logan, Putnam, and Roane counties.

A federal disaster declaration was issued shortly after, and allows for direct federal assistance in dealing with the spill, Bill Hines of the Federal Emergency Management Agency said early Friday. It remained unclear how much of the chemical spilled into the river and at what concentration, or how long the advisory would last.

The leak, which was first reported at 11:40 a.m., came from a 48,000-gallon storage tank, Tom Aluise, a spokesman for West Virginia’s department of environmental protection, told The Los Angeles Times. “All we know is that they discovered a hole in the tank, and material was leaking,” Aluise said. “How that hole got there, we don’t know.”

D.B. Hirsch
D.B. Hirsch is a political activist, news junkie, and retired ad copy writer and spin doctor. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.