CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Several non-profit organizations and groups that represent low-income state residents have filed a motion with the state Supreme Court in connection with the water emergency that began with a chemical leak Jan. 9.
The groups, including the Charleston-based Covenant House and West Virginia Coalition Against Domestic Violence, are seeking answers from the state Bureau of Public Health and the state Department of Environmental Protection.
They want the Supreme Court to “compel” the two agencies to “comply with their clear, mandatory duties under statute and legislative rule to protect the public health and water quality of West Virginians.”
The court filing alleges both agencies have failed in their response to the Freedom Industries leak of MCHM and the contamination of the water in parts of nine counties served by West Virginia American Water Company.
The lawsuit says the chemical spill and its impacts were “avoidable and should have come as no surprise” to the DEP and Bureau of Public Health. The suit says the agencies have been warned numerous times to take preventive steps.
Plaintiffs in the lawsuit include Charleston resident Monique Watkins and Covenant House client Virginia Gardner.