Many have heard about the chemical spill in Charleston, WV. Yet, many have not been told about the previous contamination that has taken place in this town and the surrounding areas. The further one digs into this subject the more twists and turns are revealed.
The Chemical Spill that took place this year in January was NOT the first pollution event for that area. In 2004 the West Virginia Department of Agriculture began using the Lachat Quik Chem 8000 Flow Injection System to measure ammonia, among other parameters. There would be no need to run tests on the water throughout the states if there was not signs of toxic water ways. There have been many cases of fish ( species known to this area only ) that are becoming extinct.
Past contamination in this area was limited to the public’s knowledge. West Virginia Facility Names – Last Inspected/Violations. The individuals in this area (and many others) have been told for years that their water is safe to drink. These same people have not been provided the information of what has been left in their water ways.
NEW: Officials work to resolve contaminated water, 9 WV counties still under State of Emergency
WV Anti-Drillers Continue to Harp on Drill Cuttings in Landfills
March 15, 2013 WVU: Marcellus drill-site pits have problems
Before the chemical spill took place, the 130th Airlift Wing in Charleston, West Virginia had posted to their Facebook page: January 10 – January Drill is cancelled due to the water issue in WV, make up drill will be determined at a later date. Please call your Supervisor with any questions.
On November 21, 2013 an article was posted, Important Decision on Oil & Gas Royalty Payment Procedures in WV Issued by Federal District Court in WV. A federal district court in West Virginia has issued an important decision regarding oil and gas royalty payment procedures in the state. The key ruling in this case, granting summary judgment to EQT, is that royalties are not payable on the volumes of gas produced at the wellhead, but on the volume actually marketed and sold by the operator. As a federal District Court decision, it is not binding on the West Virginia Supreme Court of the Circuit Courts of the state, but nonetheless the decision will be considered important and persuasive in future cases regarding royalty payments.
With all the information about contamination in the waters of West Virginia, Freedom Industries had filed for bankruptcy in January. West Virginia chemical spill: Firm files for bankruptcy. Back in October of 2013, Nine Ohio and West Virginia residents who have cancer and other diseases had filed federal lawsuits against chemical giant DuPont, alleging the company knowingly contaminated drinking-water supplies with a chemical used by one of its plants.
When looking further into West Virginia’s Legal Journal, many lawsuits had been filed against West Virginia American Water Company through out the years. Unless you live in the affected area, you would never hear about these cases.
On January 14, 2014 Robinson & McElwee Named W.V. Environment and Commercial Law Firm of the Year. Robinson & McElwee PLLC was recently selected by Corporate INTL Magazine as the winner of the 2014 Commercial and Environment Law Firm of the Year in West Virginia. Corporate INTL awards recognize leading firms that have demonstrated excellence in legal expertise and client service over the course of the prior year. Corporate INTL conducts extensive research that examines various aspects of each firm, including: service range and the method of operation and expertise each firm can offer to clients in their respective practice areas.
In 2012, a study was done by Duke University, published in Environmental Science & Technology, documents substantial losses in aquatic insect biodiversity and increases in salinity linked to sulfates and other pollutants in runoff from mines often located miles upstream. They used NASA satellite images and computer data to map the extent of surface mining taking place across a 12,000-square-mile area of the southern West Virginia coalfields between 1976 and 2005. They found that companies had converted more than five percent of the land into mine sites and buried 480 miles of streams beneath adjacent valley fills during this period.
Chemical and biological data from 223 streams sampled by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection between 1997 and 2007 were combined with mapping to help the researchers determine that pollution runoff from the mines could substantially degrade more than 1,400 miles of streams in the region.
In 2011, the U.S. House voted to end EPA water pollution oversight. Legislation passed the U.S. House of Representatives, that would strip federal regulators of their authority to make state agencies properly police water pollution. House members approved the legislation by a vote of 239 to 184. The legislation would stop EPA from rejecting Clean Water Act “dredge-and-fill” permits approved by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, as EPA did earlier this year with the largest mountaintop removal permit in West Virginia history. Many are still battling on this matter.
To give everyone an idea of how the water supply is being affected, check out this West Virginia Water Quality Assessment Report from 2010. You will see graphs of impaired water supply and also causes of impairments to the lakes, ponds, reservoirs, rivers, and streams.
INTRODUCTION TO WATERSHED ASSESSMENT BRANCH SAMPLING ACTIVITIES
This documents states “The purpose of the Watershed Assessment Branch (WAB) is to collect waterbody (e.g., streams, rivers, and lakes) data in order to determine their quality in West Virginia according to the Federal Clean Water Act (CWA). This is accomplished by visiting hundreds of streams and lakes throughout the state collecting water and biological samples (e.g., fish, benthic macroinvertebrates, and periphyton) and assessing the quality of the instream and streamside habitat. The data collected is used to determine which streams and lakes are in violation of water quality standards or impaired biologically.”
West Virginia Division Of Homeland Security and Emergency Management had been running their exercise, drills, event scenarios prior to the spill taking place.
Schedule of Major Exercises/Drills 2013-2016:
FEMA Evaluated Medical Services Drill March 20th, 2013
Medical Services Drill Early 2014
FEMA Evaluated Plume Exercise June 16th-20th, 2014
FEMA Evaluated Medical Services Drill Early 2015
FEMA Evaluated Plume Exercise Mid 2016
FEMA Evaluated Ingestion Exercise Mid 2016
WEST VIRGINIA METHODOLOGY AND EVENT TRACKING
CHAPTER 3: TRAINING AND EXERCISE
Risk and the C o r e Capabilities Understanding the greatest risks to the Nation’s security and resilience is a critical step in identifying the core capabilities and capability targets. All levels of government and the whole community should present and assess risk in a similar manner to provide a common understanding of the threats and hazards confronting our Nation. The information gathered during a risk assessment also enables a prioritization of preparedness efforts and ability to identify our capability requirements across the whole community. In accordance with PPD – 8, and in coordination with Federal departments and agencies, a Strategic National Risk Assessment was conducted. The results of the assessment indicate that a wide range of threats and hazards pose a significant risk to the Nation, affirming the need for an all-hazards, capability-based approach to preparedness planning. Key findings include:
Natural hazards, including hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, wild fires, and floods, presents a significant and varied risk across the country.
APPENDIX A: Types of Exercises / A-1 WEST VIRGINIA
§A virulent strain of pandemic influenza could kill hundreds of thousands of Americans, affect millions more, and result in economic loss. Additional human and animal infectious diseases, including those previously undiscovered, may present significant risks.
§Technological and accidental hazards, such as dam failures or chemical substance spills or releases, have the potential to cause extensive fatalities and severe economic impacts, and the likelihood of occurrence may increase due to aging infrastructure.
§Terrorist organizations or affiliates may seek to acquire, build, and use weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Conventional terrorist attacks, including those by―lone actors‖employing explosives and armed attacks, present a continued risk to the Nation.
§Cyberattacks can have their own catastrophic consequences and can also initiate other hazards, such as power grid failures or financial system failures, which magnify the potential impact of cyber incidents.
(Unlike other mission areas which are all-hazards by design, PPD-8 specifically focuses Prevention-related activities on an imminent terrorist threat. An investigative process is the systematic collection and analysis of information pertaining to factors suspected of being, contributing to, or having caused a terrorism threat or a terrorism incident. A well-conducted process will routinely leverage multiple core capabilities to accomplish its purpose in a holistic, all-of-Nation approach.