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Yet Another Spill In West Virginia - Charles P Pierce

Environment  (tags: americans, animals, climate-change, CO2emissions, destruction, ecosystems, endangered, energy, environment, globalwarming, habitatdestruction, healthconditions, politics, pollution, regulations, Toxins )

- 1587 days ago -
The Invisible Hand is just never going to get tired of slapping West Virginia around.

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Brad H (21)
Friday February 14, 2014, 8:44 am

Kit B (276)
Friday February 14, 2014, 8:48 am
Photo Credit:Tom Hindman/Getty Images - Description of picture: People line up for water at the Gestamp Plant in January in South Charleston, West Virginia. The clean water ran out in 20 minutes.

The Invisible Hand is just never going to get tired of slapping West Virginia around.

--More than 100,000 gallons of the coal slurry is believed to have flowed into Fields Creek, a tributary of the Kanawha River, officials said. Inspectors are testing the water to determine exactly how much leaked into the creek, the officials said. The spill at Patriot Coal was caused when a valve inside a slurry line malfunctioned, the state environmental protection officials said. Containment efforts by Patriot Coal began immediately, and cleanup activities are underway, said Janine Orf, a vice president at Patriot Coal. State EPA spokesman Tom Aluise said the water in the county was safe to drink, though West Virginia American Water has a "do not use" alert in place for pregnant women in the Kanawha Valley after an unrelated January 9 spill.--

So there's a new spill, about which nobody has to worry, so they can relax and just worry about the spill in January, which is "unrelated" to the latest one, unless you count the fact that they're all connected by centuries of environmental damage and neglect, and forty years of deregulatory frenzy. Unless you count that.

(Also, too: "Patriot Coal?" After "Freedom Industries?" I associate myself with the remarks of Mr. Spade of California: "The cheaper the crook, the gaudier the patter.")

In the course of reporting a story for the magazine that never came off, I once spent a week in Kingston, Tennessee where a huge containment pond gave way, completely burying a valley in more than a billion tons of coal ash and slurry. (People told me of waking up the night the dam broke and seeing trees "walking" past their houses, riding the spill down into the valley.) The result was simply the damndest thing I'd ever seen -- a gigantic, mountainous moonscape of a place with earth-movers and dump trucks scattered on the sides of the huge mounds of coal-dreck, and looking like Tonka trucks in a sandbox. The Tennessee Valley Authority was held liable for the spill because the dike that failed had not been properly inspected -- because, most likely, freedom. And it was only a month ago that the EPA announced it would regulate coal ash at all, and that was only because the EPA was about to get bludgeoned in court over the issue.

--Debate over federal regulation has dragged on for decades. After a disastrous December 2008 coal-ash spill in eastern Tennessee, the EPA pledged to act. Two years later, in June 2010, the agency announced its proposal to begin regulating the disposal of coal ash, presenting two alternatives in a 563-page draft. Under the first option, the EPA would classify the ash as "hazardous," triggering a series of strict controls for its dumping. The second option would deem coal ash "non-hazardous" and subject it to less stringent national standards that amount to guidelines for states. Three years after unveiling its plan, however, the EPA has delayed the rules, sparking the environmental groups' legal challenge. In October, a federal court judge sided with the groups in finding that, under federal waste law, the EPA has a duty to review and, if necessary, revise rules every three years. But the agency has not done so for rules governing coal-ash disposal since 2000.--

Wow, and just in time, too, because, down in the newly insane state of North Carolina, Duke Energy poisoned up a river with some coal ash, and then buried the story for as long as it possibly could, also probably because freedom.

--Duke Energy announced last week that it found the leak in a 48-inch stormwater pipe at the retired Dan River Steam Station in Eden, North Carolina, on February 2. On Saturday, six days later, the company said it had plugged the broken pipe that was causing the spill and was working with officials on developing a cleanup plan. Coal ash, the material that remains after burning coal for electricity,contains metals such as arsenic, selenium and cadmium. Tests of the river last week revealed levels of copper, aluminum, iron and arsenic above state standards for surface water, state environmental officials said.--

Mmmmm, selenium!

And this latest "event" complicated a settlement that North Carolina was negotiating with Duke Energy on two previous spills. Awful thing, those complications. And, because the newly insane state of North Carolina is completely in the bag for the extraction industries, because, you know, freedom, the regulators were no help, either.

--The state agency has blocked the citizen lawsuits by intervening at the last minute to assert its own authority under the federal act to take enforcement action. After negotiating with Duke, the state proposed settlements where the nation's largest electricity provider pays modest fines but is under no requirement to actually clean up its coal ash ponds. Clean water advocates have long complained that state regulators are too cozy with the polluters they regulate. But they say that coordination and cooperation has become even more overt since the January 2013 inauguration of Gov. Pat McCrory, a pro-business Republican who worked at Duke Energy for 28 years.--

The Invisible Hand is flipping us off again.

By: Charles P Pierce | Esquire Magazine |

Read more: West Virginia Slurry Spill - Yet Another Spill In West Virginia - Esquire
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Past Member (0)
Friday February 14, 2014, 9:18 am
we need END ECOCIDE and PEAK ALL very soon to stop this incredible mess

pam w (139)
Friday February 14, 2014, 9:59 am

Arielle S (313)
Friday February 14, 2014, 11:21 am
And the people continue to just stand in line and wait for water? And then what? Wait til people get sick and die? Wait til the next spill? Apparently, this water has already affected the gonads in the area...

SuSanne P (193)
Friday February 14, 2014, 1:11 pm
Thank you Kit...errr!
"Debate over federal regulation has dragged on for decades." Pretty much sums it up! AND CONTINUE. After writing what seems like hours I am too frustrated to share anything I've written so I'll c/p a few highlights as I don't believe there will be change in the future that will undue what's been done. It just continues and continues! Man or Women make errors as they are human, even with the best intentions. Crisis after crisis with no intention to discontinue! "Short cuts make long delays" (Gandolf from the Hobbit) this one becoming fatal~ these short cuts have made a long delay to destruction when we look at the whole picture. IMO.
"So there's a new spill, about which nobody has to worry, so they can relax and just worry about the spill in January, which is "unrelated" to the latest one, unless you count the fact that they're all connected by centuries of environmental damage and neglect, and forty years of deregulatory frenzy. Unless you count that.
spill because the dike that failed had not been properly inspected-- because, most likely, freedom. And it was only a month ago."

"....liable for the spill because the dike that failed had not been properly inspected..."

"Yet Another Spill"
I have to leave this site...It pisses me off to no end!


SuSanne P (193)
Friday February 14, 2014, 1:13 pm
Post kind of a mess...please excuse my frustration.

Lois Jordan (63)
Friday February 14, 2014, 2:14 pm
Noted. Thanks, Kit. It's really beginning to bother me that we call these "spills." Maybe we should start referencing them as "toxic dumps." Anyone with any better ideas?

Kit B (276)
Friday February 14, 2014, 2:18 pm

Intentional toxic dumps. Where do these people live that trashing this planet has so little meaning?

. (0)
Friday February 14, 2014, 5:11 pm
That's not good. Thanks for sharing, Kit.

JL A (281)
Friday February 14, 2014, 6:07 pm
If I lived there I'd wonder whether the tears this brings to my eyes were going to run black--and not because of any cosmetics.

Past Member (0)
Friday February 14, 2014, 8:03 pm
This is disgraceful, I really feel bad for the people in W. Virginia. This crap has to stop. So tired of money greed injustice and ruining the land. Thanks for posting this Kit.

Angelika R (143)
Friday February 14, 2014, 8:40 pm
Anyone counting these "unrelated spills"? Wonder if we'd come up with some 40+, familiar count, eh? thx, even for the awful news!

Tere M (75)
Friday February 14, 2014, 8:44 pm
Very sad; however, the first step is to know. thank you for sharing. ~

Kit B (276)
Friday February 14, 2014, 8:58 pm

Nice to see you Tere, it's been a while.

Panchali Yapa (26)
Saturday February 15, 2014, 2:20 am

Bridget Robertson (106)
Saturday February 15, 2014, 2:56 am
Getting more people to care about West Virginia has proven to be very difficult. It is nice to come here and see that people do care. Tweeted and shared this story.

Ruth C (87)
Saturday February 15, 2014, 5:57 am
You said it Debbie S!

. (0)
Saturday February 15, 2014, 6:38 am
Noted & posted

Gabriele Jefferson (147)
Saturday February 15, 2014, 7:03 am
noted, shared with fb & twitter

lee e (114)
Saturday February 15, 2014, 11:20 am
Some of us "oldsters" have been fighting tooth and nail for regulations - now 50+ years later, we're reaping the results of the industries that have had free reign over all - without any inspections or without looking to see the erosion of pipes and equipment that were bound to fail "eventually" - eventually has now visited us - and these antiquated pipes are no longer able to withstand their age -- the inevitable is taking place "who'd a thought"? Well some of us teenagers of the '60's thought - seems after the fact that we were right - but now it's too late, and the EPA, is still no better for these messes they're responsible for!

Theodore Shayne (56)
Saturday February 15, 2014, 11:50 am
Noted & posted

Sylvie A (193)
Sunday February 16, 2014, 3:56 am
Notée. Merci.

Frances Darcy (133)
Sunday February 16, 2014, 6:18 am
Of cvourse it was an "accident" ....

Craig Pittman (52)
Monday February 24, 2014, 4:28 am
Main stream media isn't motivated to write about these events. Thanks Kit for passing this along.
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