west virginia chemical spill puts spotlight on industrial plants - chemical spill absorbent
For Bonnie wire man, the white plastic bag covering the kitchen faucet reminded her not to drink water. The 81-year-
The old woman left the tap water there after forgetting several times it was contaminated because a coal processing chemical leaked into the water supply in the area.
Every time she turns on the water, she quickly stops to wash her hands with peroxide --
Just to make sure she's safe.
Wireman, the widow of a coal miner, was frustrated by the chemical leak, which cost 300,000 West Virginia people four days of clean tap water: "I'm really angry.
"But she wanted to clarify one thing even though she said it quickly: she did not blame the coal or chemical industry for causing the leak.
"I hope it won't hurt coal," Wireman said . " He lives in an area known as the Chemical Valley around the state because there are all factories nearby.
"Too many West Virginia people rely on coal and chemicals.
We need these jobs.
"This is a dilemma for many West Virginia people: these industries offer thousands of high-paying jobs, but also risk the surrounding communities, such as chemical leaks or coal mine disasters
On Thursday, after a foamer for coal processing leaked and penetrated into the Elk River at a free industrial plant in Charleston, the current emergency began.
Since then, residents have been ordered not to use tap water for anything but flushing the toilet.
West Virginia is a picturesque mountainous state with lush valleys of rivers and streams.
But on winding rural roads, there are signs of the state's industrial past and present: Chemical plant tanks rising from the bottom of the valley. Coal mines —
Heavy equipment and steel structures used to extract and then transport fuel-
Part of the country landscape.
The white smoke from the factory is in stark contrast to the natural beauty of the state.
"You won't find a lot of people against these industries in these areas.
But we have to regulate them better, "said Danny Scott, the son of swickman, 59, a retired GE worker who has been helping to take care of his mother.
"There's a lot that the country can offer.
We don't want to destroy it.
West Virginia is the second.
The largest coal-producing state after Wyoming has 538 coal mines and 26,619 people.
There are about 150 chemical companies in the state, employing 12,000 workers.
Over the years, accidents have occurred in both industries that have resulted in worker deaths and environmental damage.
On January 2010, a worker died at DuPont factory after inhaling a lethal dose of light gas, which was used as a chemical weapon during World War I and today as building blocks for synthetic drugs and other organic compounds.
On 2010, an explosion in a large coal mine killed 29 people.
Coal is vital to West Virginia's economy.
From 2009 to 2011, during and after the national recession, strong coal prices and demands were essential to the national budget.
The state's unemployment rate was 8 in November 2009.
4%, according to the United StatesS.
Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Four years laterNovember 2013 —
The unemployment rate fell to six.
1%, less than 7% of the country. In Gov.
Count Tomlin's recent status-of-the-
In his national speech, he touted the chemical industry as one of the industries that grew significantly last year.
The leakage of contaminated water supply involves a chemical used for coal processing.
But it doesn't involve coal mines-
This is a point that state officials are trying to convey to the public.
When asked if the emergency was a risk for a country that was heavily dependent on the coal industry, totogin responded quickly: "This is not an incident for coal companies, it is an incident for chemical companies
"It was used to process coal as far as I know, but it is clear that it is not a coal company, he said: "It was a chemical company that left a gap and a storage tank holding this particular chemical. ".
The coal industry also said they should not take responsibility in this case.
"It was a chemical leak.
"As it happens, this chemical has some applications in the coal industry, but the fact itself should not lead to finger-pointing on the coal industry," said Jason Boch, vice president of the West Virginia Coal Association.
Bostic said that the coal industry has been very carefully regulated by the Ministry of Environmental Protection and several federal agencies that ensure the safety of the coal industry from the first step in mining mines to the continued operation.
"Environmental risks associated with coal mining, we think it is well regulated," said Botic . ".
There is no doubt that the coal and chemical industries are an important part of the national economy.
Despite his regret for the commercial losses caused by the oil spill, Matt Ballard, president of the Charleston Regional Alliance, the state's largest regional chamber of commerce, talked about the importance of Kanawa Valley chemical, including the capital.
"The chemical industry is the beginning of this valley," Ballard said . "
"We have a long history of security, but that is true in any business. . .
There are always risks.
Kent soworth, deputy director of the Marshall University Center for Business and Economic Research, said there was a delicate balance between offsetting economic demand and potential costs associated with the coal and chemical industries.
"Everything has its inherent risks.
"Whether the risk is something that someone wants to continue to take on ends up being their decision," he said . ".
In the case of West Virginia, he thought the state did a good job of maintaining that balance.
He said that as an emergency is taking place, it is difficult to assess whether the response is successful at the moment.
But in communities across the region, people are starting to wonder if the name is worth it.
56-year-old Steve Brown lives outside of the Nitro in the shadow of the chemical plant.
Over the years, he has worked in some of these places with first-hand knowledge of risks and returns.
"You make enough money to support your family," said Brown, who is unemployed . ".
"But you can also see what it does to the environment.
People fish far away from rivers and streams near chemical plants.
You have fish advice.
You know better. You just know.
He said: "The leakage of chemicals has brought the best and worst results to people.
He watched people send water to elderly and disabled neighbors who could not go out.
But he also caught a glimpse of people fighting in the grocery store for a bottle of water.
"I couldn't believe it when I saw it," he said . ".
"It's really sad.
"Chris Laws, 42, a coal miner who grew up in the Kanava Valley, has worked in the coal mine for 20 years.
He said he was worried about what would happen a few days later when people still couldn't take a shower, wash clothes or wash dishes.
"It's not even a bad time.
The bad moment hasn't arrived yet, "he said as he waited outside the Kroger grocery store to deliver water.
He said he was troubled by officials downplaying the impact on the people.
"They don't think it's a big deal.
But it's a big deal.
You have 300,000 people without water.
"If this continues for a longer period of time, there will be massive confusion," he said . ".
Patricia Mason, a retired teacher, says people think they have to accept environmental risks associated with these industries, which bothers her.
"Yes, we need work.
But we can make sure they (companies)
Don't hurt the environment.
Look around you.
We have beautiful mountains.
We should promote our environment more.
This will create jobs.
"People don't have to accept such a life," she said . ".