CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Gov, Earl Ray Tomblin called his West Virginia Source Water Protection Act a work in progress Tuesday.

The governor proposed the bill Monday, a week and a half after up to 7,500 gallons of MCHM leaked from an above ground tank at Freedom Industries and into the Elk River eventually reaching West Virginia American Water Company’s Kanawha Water Treatment Plant which serves 100,000 customers in nine counties.

Above ground tanks at Freedom Industries in Charleston

The Tomblin bill would create an above ground storage tank regulatory program to ensure facilities located in “critical zones” are built and maintained under consistent safety standards. That means above ground tanks near water sources, populated areas or other locations where large amounts of people could be impacted.

“We want to make sure [tanks] are inspected on a regular basis by a certified engineer to give people more confidence,” said Tomblin during an interview with MetroNews on Tuesday.

The governor admits it is a “narrow” bill.

“We don’t want to overreach,  but at the same time we don’t want to duplicate what another agency or law is already doing,” according to Tomblin.

Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader John Unger said on MetroNews Talkline Tuesday the governor’s bill doesn’t go far enough. Legislation introduced last week in the Senate called for all above ground storage tanks to fall into regulation standards no matter where they’re located.

Tomblin said his bill is not the final word on chemical safety and if there are changes that need to be made he is willing to consider those.

“This bill is one we had to put together fairly quickly,” explained Tomblin. “I’m willing to work with legislative leaders to make sure the job is done to make sure the people’s health and safety of this state are looked after.”

Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Randy Huffman backed the governor’s bill saying the Senate version is too broad.

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  • wv4evah

    Scorecard so far:

    Unger 1
    Tomblin 0

  • 19WVU76

    Sounds like someone handed the gub'ner one of their wife's apple pie's, with a little extra seasoning, if ya know what I mean. Always room for compromise, at that point.

  • Mason County Contrarian

    Sounds like the Guv's resolve has been watered down as well as the bill.

    What a difference a few days can make.

  • rick

    What ever happened to " We don't want the EPA or any other Government agency to regulate how we do things here in West Virginia".

  • Aaron

    One thing that I wonder about these tanks is even if they are regulated, what is the city and Danny Jones going to do to improve Barrow drive. Even after the spill the potential for danger is present due to the substandard condition of Barrow Drive.

    • BH

      Barlow Drive

      • Aaron

        Yes. Autocorrect.

        It's a horrendous road and the city of Charleston should either fix it or close it.

  • David Sneed

    In most safety failures we get to see what big companies think about public safety.

    In this case we see where it is government at all levels that has failed, even the local Charleston agency that deals with chemical safety. That agency, quoted in the news, seemed to not even know about Freedom Industries.

    One of my children has been planning to move to West Virginia to be near the spouse's mother. I have told them it might not be a good place to raise a family. I know I would not move there

    • Aaron

      I'm curious Mr. Sneed, where do you currently live?

      • David Sneed

        Wyoming though originally from Georgia. Here in Wyoming we have fracking that is going to destroy the water supply.

        • Aaron

          You're unhappy with WY but you wouldn't raise a family I'm WV. Interesting.

          • David Sneed

            Aaron I probably should qualify. Wyoming is not what it used to be. My children are all grown now and I am looking to the future for my so far 21 grandchildren and one great-grandchild, most of whom are scattered nationwide. At this point in my life I would probably not move to WV or to any other state for that matter. I'd love to move to Dawson City Yukon, Panama or Crete though will not do any of them. I love the U.S. and want it not to be too difficult to visit family. Finding a safe and sustainable location to raise a family is not easy. WV is a pretty nice place, my kind of place, except for long range water quality. 300,000 good folks found out real quick what can happen. In some states the problem is cost of living. If I had to recommend a place to raise a family I might well put rural Kansas as number 1 along with doing work that can be done anywhere. You sound like a nice guy and from the comment you made have some concerns. I don't know who Danny Jones is. I do know of the late Dancing Outlaw from WV and would love to have met him in person. Sorry if I gave you any offense.

  • MB

    It is no good if you don't inforce it!!

    • the truth

      My issue will be that they put this on the State DEP which is already short staffed and cannot hire people due to the low low pay compared to the private sector.

  • syd

    why do we continually write rules to narrowly prevent something that has already happened?

    • Dennis

      To get votes for the next election.