West Virginia Dems Hesitant to Call for Stringent Chemical Regulations

WASHINGTON - FEBRUARY 13: U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV), ranking member of the House Resources Committee, ask questions during a Congressional forum on mine safety sponsored by U.S. House of Representatives Democrats February 13, 2006 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Family members of miners killed in mining disasters in West Virginia last month and in Alabama in 2001 were invited to tell their stories. Miners who previously worked at the Sago Mine in West Virginia also testified. 
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Clare Foran
Jan. 14, 2014, 2:24 a.m.

Demo­crats in West Vir­gin­ia’s con­gres­sion­al del­eg­a­tion have so far held off on call­ing for more strin­gent reg­u­la­tions or reg­u­lat­ory re­form in the wake of a chem­ic­al spill that may have con­tam­in­ated drink­ing wa­ter across the state, The Huff­ing­ton Post re­ports.

At a press con­fer­ence on Monday Rep. Nick Ra­hall, the rank­ing mem­ber of the House Trans­port­a­tion and In­fra­struc­ture Com­mit­tee, hes­it­ated to say that Con­gress should ad­dress the is­sue through le­gis­lat­ive re­form, at least for the time be­ing. “My com­mit­tee “¦ will be ex­er­cising our over­sight au­thor­ity, but in due time,” he said.

A spokes­per­son for Sen. Joe Manchin sim­il­arly shied away from call­ing for any im­me­di­ate reg­u­lat­ory or le­gis­lat­ive changes.

“Right now we are fo­cused on mak­ing sure West Vir­gini­ans have wa­ter and we get through this crisis be­fore we start pro­pos­ing or think­ing of pro­pos­ing new reg­u­la­tions,” Manchin spokes­man Jonath­an Kott told The Huff­ing­ton Post. “Sen­at­or Manchin will cer­tainly be look­ing in­to this mat­ter and fig­ur­ing how we pre­vent it from hap­pen­ing in the fu­ture.”

For now, the worst ap­pears to be over in West Vir­gin­ia as state of­fi­cials began to lift the five-day ban on drink­ing wa­ter in ef­fect in cer­tain counties. While the spill has dom­in­ated the news over the past few days and promp­ted calls from oth­er Demo­crat­ic law­makers for con­gres­sion­al over­sight, it re­mains to be seen how much at­ten­tion will be giv­en to the is­sue on Cap­it­ol Hill once the crisis has come to an end.


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