CHARLESTON, W.Va–From: Gary Southern, President of Freedom Industries: “Since the discovery of the leak, safety for residents in Kanawha and surrounding counties has been Freedom Industries’ first priority. We have been working with local and federal regulatory, safety and environmental entities, including the DEP, Coast Guard, Army Corp of Engineers and Homeland Security, and are following all necessary steps to fix the issue. Our team has been working around the clock since the discovery to contain the leak to prevent further contamination. At this point, Freedom Industries is still working to determine the amount of 4-methylcyclohexanemethanol, or Crude MCHM, a chemical used in processing coal, that has been released, as the first priority was safety, containment and cleanup.
Freedom Industries is in the process of setting up an Incident Command Center on site. As more factual information is made available, we will keep you updated.”
WASHINGTON, DC — Senator Jay Rockefeller today released the following statement: “I am deeply troubled by yesterday’s chemical spill at the Freedom Industries plant in Charleston and concerned about the problems it is causing thousands of West Virginians across nine counties. First and foremost, the safety of our citizens is my priority, so I urge everyone in the contaminated areas to remain vigilant and follow directions from emergency personnel about the use of running water.
“Along with those at the highest levels of our federal and state government, I am closely monitoring the response. I urge all officials involved to do whatever it takes, and leave no resource on the table, so that this situation can be quickly resolved for the sake of our families our precious water supply.
“I commend Governor Tomblin for requesting a State of Emergency, West Virginia Division of Homeland Security Director Jimmy Gianato for coordinating the response and the White House for moving swiftly in granting the governor’s request. Once all of the impacted counties and residents are able to return to a semblance of normalcy, I expect a full accounting of what happened — and what can be done — to make sure this type of disaster never happens again. And we must be prepared to do whatever is necessary to restore the Elk River and its tributaries.
“As West Virginians, we know how to come together during the most difficult times. We check in on elderly neighbors. We make sure our friends and family are safe. We embrace each other in the tough moments. And that is what we must do now.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) today released the following statement after Governor Tomblin and President Obama issued a federal disaster declaration for West Virginia
“Today I have spoken with the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, the regional administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Administration and Governor Tomblin to ensure that West Virginians receive every possible resource from the federal government while we work to resolve this issue. They have informed me that the first water trucks are anticipated to arrive this afternoon and that they will monitor and work to resolve the issue immediately.
“West Virginia American Water estimates that thousands of miles of main line in their water distribution system have been affected, and it could take several days to return to normal. Until the situation is resolved, I urge all West Virginians to not drink, boil, wash, clean, bathe or give to pets your water. Please only use water for sanitation and fire protection. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and do everything we can to provide water and the resources necessary to help all those who are affected.
“I know hundreds of thousands of West Virginians are in need at this time, and I want you to know that I am doing everything in my power to help you get the resources and assistance you need as quickly as possible. Please remember to lend a helping hand to your neighbors at this challenging time. As always, you can call any of my office numbers for assistance.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – After speaking with FEMA Regional Administrator MaryAnn Tierney and West Virginia Homeland Security and Emergency Management Director Jimmy Gianato about the chemical leak in the Kanawha Valley, U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.) issued the following statement:
“I have urged Federal and State emergency management officials to ensure that every possible resource is made available to meet the needs of our State and its citizens. I have asked them to bear in mind the particular needs of our seniors, many of whom are isolated, and residents of our State’s hospitals and nursing homes, as well as how our businesses are being affected,” said Rahall, top Democrat on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, which has jurisdiction over FEMA. “I will continue to closely monitor reports about the leak and response efforts and keep in contact with local officials and residents to help secure expeditious assistance as needed.”
WASHINGTON – U.S. Representative Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) issued the following statement today on the Kanawha Valley water emergency:
“I have spoken this morning with state, local and federal officials, including Mayor Jones and Commissioner Carper, and offered them my full support and assistance with the federal government as they work to respond to this emergency. I would like to thank them for responding promptly to ensure West Virginians are informed and have access to other sources of water. I urge all residents in affected counties not to drink, bathe, clean with, give to pets or boil tap water until informed otherwise by authorities.
“I also ask that residents remain calm and patient while this situation is resolved. Help one another, look out for your neighbors, and check in with senior citizens and those who are homebound to ensure they have clean water and food. This is, no doubt, a very difficult situation, but we are all in this together.”
Residents needing assistance may also call one of the congresswoman’s offices in Charleston at (304) 925-5964 or Washington at (202) 225-2711.
CHARLESTON, W.V.– Senate President Jeff Kessler (D-Marshall) is urging residents in the counties affected by Thursday’s chemical leak to abide by the Governor’s State of Emergency.
West Virginians always pull together during times of need,says Kessler. I urge all resident in affected counties to remain calm, support each other, check on their elderly family and neighbors and mostly importantly, when possible, share water resources.
The West Virginia Senate will be working Friday with a limited staff. It will meet, run its calendar and then adjourn until Monday.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. —United States Attorney Booth Goodwin today issued the following statement regarding yesterdays release of a potentially dangerous chemical into the southern West Virginia water supply:
Yesterdays release of a potentially dangerous chemical into our water supply has put hundreds of thousands of West Virginians at risk, severely disrupted our region’s economy, and upended people’s daily lives. My office and other federal law enforcement authorities have opened an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the release. We will determine what caused it and take whatever action is appropriate based on the evidence we uncover.