CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Representatives from two federal agencies are due in Charleston Wednesday in response to the Jan. 9 chemical leak and the nine-county water emergency that followed.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin announced Tuesday he’ll host representatives from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the federal EPA.

The visit will come a day after lawmakers criticized the federal government for not doing more in response to the emergency.

Senate Majority Leader John Unger, D-Berkeley, said Tuesday the Senate would consider a resolution Wednesday requesting immediate federal assistance. He said questions remain about the chemical Crude MCHM that leaked from the Freedom Industries tank. He said the state needs help.

“To figure out what this chemical is, what’s in the compound? Is there formaldehyde or isn’t there formaldehyde? Yes or no. We continue to get conflicting results,” Unger said.

The senator was critical of both President Barack Obama and the CDC during his remarks. He said he was disappointed the President didn’t mention the emergency in his State of the Union Address. He also wondered why the CDC spent more time recently addressing a virus on a cruise ship.

“Where are they?” Unger asked. “Where is the team this cruise ship had?”

The state has been working with the CDC since soon after the spill occurred into the Elk River. It was that agency that came up with the recommendation that anything less than 1 part-per-million of MCHM in the water supply was safe for consumption.

“Since January 9th, Gov. Tomblin has worked with our federal partners with the CDC, the EPA and our state agencies on this chemical spill,” Gov. Tomblin’s Communications Director Amy Shuler Goodwin said.

Del. Meesha Poore, D-Kanawha, called on her colleagues to unite during an emotional floor speech Tuesday.

“We’re in a crisis because people are still demanding water. They are still demanding bottled water,” Poore said. “Every year I sit on this floor and I ask you a question, ‘Am I my brother’s keeper?’ And I tell you we are not only our brother’s keeper on this floor but we are the keepers of our brothers and sisters in this state.”

Goodwin said a full update is expected Wednesday afternoon.

“The governor and members of our state and national team will provide an update -in detail-on what we have accomplished, where we stand now, and what actions we are taking as we move forward,” she said.


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  • Matt

    The senator was critical of both President Barack Obama and the CDC during his remarks. ... He also wondered why the CDC spent more time recently addressing a virus on a cruise ship. “Where are they?” Unger asked. “Where is the team this cruise ship had?”

    The Sen. needs to get his facts straight. The CDC has been involved in WV since the start of the water contamination. They are still involved. However when a virus breaks out on a cruise ship the CDC has to prioritize its resources and redirect them as necessary. A virus on a cruise ship is a much more significant than contamination of water from NON-TOXIC chemical that is not known to cause serious short term effects, cause cancer, or result in any serious long-term effects. Not to mention that a viral outbreak is much more serious and difficult to contain than a contamination. Over 700 people were reported as being sick on the cruise ship. There were only approx. 170 people in WV who reported symptoms that could be related to a chemical exposure (out of 300,000). The CDC has and will continue to provide the necessary response needed, but they can't watse their time/resources in WV when a bigger and more serious health crisis occurs.

  • FungoJoe

    Meshia Poore (DEMOCRAT) doing her best political grandstanding like a typical liberal. We need actions Meshia, not words. You are not my keeper, nor are you my brother's keeper. You are a political hack like most democrats. Meshia, STFU for once, and do something that is actually helpful. This tank farm was in your district and you did absolutely nothing to protect the citizens of WV. Now you want to run your mouth.
    Actions speak louder than words Meshia. You have no actions, but a plethora of useless words. Meshia, as The Donald would say, You're Fired!!!!

  • tom

    If I only have one choice for water and have paid my bill without missing for 35 years I have the right to expect drinking water free of damaging chemicals. Whoever you are Charleston you hid behind these posts with lots of courage. I'll meet you in the parking lot and lets see how brave you are with you words.

  • ken

    those Buffon's in Charleston cannot get anything right why have high expectations for this one

  • hilljack

    Oh I think we have enough DEP inspectors, they just don't do their jobs. The governor has still yet to fire anyone over this mess. Everyone just keeps passing the buck.

  • Dave Rice

    Tell Mr. Under to check out the facts before he starts just throwing his personal ideas out and not only confusing but scaring the citizens about what is in the chemical spill.
    We need facts, not speculation!!

  • Jenny

    I own a home in Charleston - renter's leaving because of water quality (expectant parents) - can't rent, can't sell, can't live there and worry about the water. What's a person to do?

  • David lowdermilk

    Clean drinking water is not a right!

    But it is a reasonable expectation given the cost and regulation.

    • Charleston

      Clean drinking water is not a right, but it is a necessity, Genius.

  • tom

    This should not be about political parties but about the health of it's citizens and clean drinking water which should not be a luxury but a right!

  • rick

    Seems WV folks only want regulations and enforcement when it affects them directly. This chemical has been running into the coalfields water for many years and no one cared except people from the outside.What is being proposed to fix infrastructure and do more enforcement costs money and we don't want to pay for it. WV gets a lot of benefit from it's State workers with very little cost.

  • David

    Me Unger obviously doesn't know the difference between a disease and chemical contamination. Being critical of the CDC reveals a lack of understanding that comes as no surprise.

  • blugldmn

    Me Unger there is formaldehyde in the food you eat. We've had enough grandstanding already. Concern yourself with the problems in the panhandle like the rock cliff that could collapse in harpers ferry and kill any number of motorists commuting to Maryland for work.

    • Rich

      The biggest risk to public safety is getting between Unger and a camera.

  • blugldmn

    Maybe if Obama's EPA was not waging a war on coal trying to bankrupt the industry they wouldn't have to cut corners and coal taxes wouldn't be down so the government could afford to hire a few tank inspectors that were not somebody's brother in law.....

    • Hillboy

      If that were true then the state would have had an inspection program in place prior to the "war on coal" back when the state was flush with revenue from coal. Let's face it, the philosophy of WV state government, especially with regard to coal and chemicals, has been to keep regulations to a minimum. Now we are seeing that that philosophy is penny wise and pound foolish. I heard the estimate is that the WV economy lost $61 million because of the spill. If West Virginians don't want to invest some tax money to protect the environment they should at least be willing to invest some to protect the economy.

      • wvman75

        Democrats and their agenda is killing our great state. That's the bottom line.

        • hillboy

          When it comes to regulating industry, WV Democrats and Republicans have been pretty much the same.

  • Meltzen

    We should be in good shape with the EPA and CDC coming into town. ( Cough cough )

  • wvman75

    Democrats couldn't run a fever.