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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Senator John McCain paid a secret visit to Northern Syria over the weekend during his trip abroad. McCain reportedly went "to speak with American officials and Kurdish fighters leading the charge to push ISIS militants out of Raqqa, the jihadist group’s stronghold." The trip was organized with the help of U.S. military.
"The Trump administration will deliver its first budget to Congress in mid-March, and the president confirmed Wednesday it will contain major cuts for federal agencies." The blueprint, expected to be released in mid-March, will not include the kinds of specifics usually seen in White House budgets, but rather will instruct the heads of agencies to "do more with less."
"While Democrats nationwide have put the focus on President Trump, the Sanders wing of the party has engaged in an intramural fight to remake the party in a more populist, liberal mold." From Washington state to California to Florida, Sanders loyalists are making good on their promise to remake the party from the ground up. And just last week, a "group of former Sanders campaign aides launched a super PAC with the explicit goal of mounting primary challenges to Democratic incumbents."
Congress will need to vote on Donald Trump's pick of Lt. General H.R. McMaster to be his next national security adviser, but not for the reason you think. The position of NSA doesn't require Senate approval, but since McMaster currently holds a three-star military position, Congress will need to vote to allow him to keep his position instead of forcing him to drop one star and become a Major General, which could potentially affect his pension.