Three hundred thousand people in West Virginia face a fifth day without drinking water from their taps after the leak of a coal-treatment chemical contaminated supplies in the Charleston region, Bloomberg reports.
But Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said Sunday there’s a “light at the end of the tunnel” and things are “trending in the right direction” after tests showed low levels of contamination from 4-methylcyclohexane methanol, the news service reports.
The accident has prompted bottled-water distribution because residents cannot use tap water for drinking, bathing, and other needs.
The Wall Street Journal has a front-page story that says the Freedom Industries chemical-storage site that leaked operated with almost no state and local monitoring.
And the chemical that spilled into the Elk River from the company’s Charleston facility “isn’t closely tracked by federal programs,” the paper reports.
The accident is also reigniting calls for Congress to toughen federal regulation of chemicals and industry testing requirements.
Legislation to strengthen the Toxic Substances Control Act has languished for years on Capitol Hill.
Environmental Defense Fund scientists, in a weekend blog post, said the spill reveals the “epic failure” of the law passed in the mid-1970s.
“What is particularly maddening and outrageous is that no one — not local or state officials, not the company that owns the storage tank, not the federal government — can say anything even close to definitive about what risk the chemical poses to people, even in the short term, let alone over time,” EDF’s Richard Denison and Jennifer McPartland write.
“And that’s where the failures of TSCA come into sharp focus,” their post states.
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"The Senate was expected to be back in session at noon, while House lawmakers were told to return to work for a 9 a.m. session. Mr. Trump on Friday had canceled plans to travel to his private resort on Palm Beach, Fla., where a celebration had been planned for Saturday to celebrate the anniversary of his first year in office."
"A stopgap spending bill stalled in the Senate Friday night, leading to a government shutdown for the first time since 2013. The continuing resolution funding agencies expired at midnight, and lawmakers were unable to spell out any path forward to keep government open. The Senate on Friday night failed to reach cloture on a four-week spending bill the House had already approved."
"The FBI is investigating whether a top Russian banker with ties to the Kremlin illegally funneled money to the National Rifle Association to help Donald Trump win the presidency." Investigators have focused on Alexander Torshin, the deputy governor of Russia’s central bank "who is known for his close relationships with both Russian President Vladimir Putin and the NRA." The solicitation or use of foreign funds is illegal in U.S. elections under the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) by either lobbying groups or political campaigns. The NRA reported spending a record $55 million on the 2016 elections.
"Hundreds of new and supplemental FARA filings by U.S. lobbyists and public relations firms" have been submitted "since Special Counsel Mueller charged two Trump aides with failing to disclose their lobbying work on behalf of foreign countries. The number of first-time filings ... rose 50 percent to 102 between 2016 and 2017, an NBC News analysis found. The number of supplemental filings, which include details about campaign donations, meetings and phone calls more than doubled from 618 to 1,244 last year as lobbyists scrambled to avoid the same fate as some of Trump's associates and their business partners."