January 17, 2014 5:17 pm -

FREEDOMIND_I140110225148Freedom. Riiight: freedom to take as little responsibility for an environmental disaster as possible. Admittedly, this comes as little surprise:Freedom Industries Inc., the company connected to a chemical spill that tainted the water supply in West Virginia, on Friday filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

A petition signed by the company’s president, Gary Southern, estimates the Freedom’s debts at $10 million or less, but the cost of disaster is likely to run much higher.

Thousands of gallons of an allegedly toxic chemical called crude MCHM contaminated the water supply for hundreds of thousands of the state’s residents for days, spawning lawsuits from businesses and people affected by the disaster.

Bankruptcy offers Freedom a break from having to answer the suits, some of which demand punitive damages. It also opens the door to court-supervised probes into what led to the disaster, and what resources are available to pay any damages.

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.