CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Second District Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) wants some answers and she says she intends to get some during a U.S. House field hearing set for Monday in Charleston into the chemical leak that contaminated water for 100,000 customers of West Virginia American Water Company.

Capito and several members of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will hold the hearing at the Kanawha County Courthouse. It gets underway at 9 a.m.

The congresswoman said she’s not happy with how the entire situation has been handled

“There’s no certainty. We don’t know exactly what happened. We don’t know what the water company’s reaction was clear enough,” stressed Capito. “And I don’t think we know exactly, from the CDC standpoint, whether our water is 100 percent okay or is it 80 percent or for a certain population and how do you make those calculations?”

Representatives of West Virginia American Water will be on hand for the hearing as will those with the state Department of Environmental Protection, the Chemical Safety Board and local first responders. Capito said officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Freedom Industries declined an invitation to speak at the hearing.

“Boy, I’d love to have [Freedom] on the hot seat to ask them a lot of questions,” said Capito.

No one has heard anything from Freedom since the company held a brief news conference outside their gates the day after the spill was reported.

Capito said there’s not enough information out there as to what actually happened and, when people ask questions, they’re getting the run around. Capito stressed it’s happened to her as well.

She and U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) sent a letter to the CDC weeks ago. They wanted to know why the CDC gave the all clear to drink the water and then, two days later, cautioned pregnant women to continue drinking bottled water. Capito said they still haven’t gotten a response.

The congresswoman knows she’s not going to get all the answers during one hearing, but she hopes to get some key information.

“Right now the main question is, is the water safe, is it safe to drink and why are we still having these pockets of odors and how long can we expect it, how long until we get rid of it? Those are the kinds of questions I think people want answered today,” she said.

The hearing is open to the public and will be held in the ceremonial courtroom at the Kanawha County Courthouse.

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  • Robert Casto

    Responsible parties should have to Replace Water Delivery System (inside plumbing) to All homes and business affected in this water crises. And also install a Water Filtration System at All commercial and residential locations effected by this Contamination because of there Negligence. I would Investigate the Records of state and federal inspections on these tanks. From the appearance of these tanks on local news reports they haven't been seen by and inspector for a long time. Has there been any tests ran on ground absorption of this Waste? And will it be up to the people of WV to foot the clean up bill do to the fact of the Company going to Bankruptcy? Who will pay the bills for doctors care involved in this case, and who will pay there funeral bills?

  • wvu82

    So the congresswoman who thinks government is the problem and who consistently votes against something called the Clean Water Act now wants to know why we don't have clean water?

    • GregG

      Picked up on that too.

  • WW Glasser

    I have to ask:

    Has no one in the “Chemical Valley” ever done a toxicity test on a spill ?

    How about the DEP, the DHHR, the EPA or the CDC ?

    Step forward if you have ever HEARD of toxicity testing.

    Tests on water fleas, minnows and other animals can greatly increase our knowledge of MCHM-PPH.

    Likewise effects on types and combinations of plumbing can be tested.

    With knowledge we can show and tell the public FINDINGS !

    Or, do you want to stay in the world of appropriate – but not necessarily safe ?

    Come vacation in Charleston … our water is CDC appropriate !

  • Independent View

    To those Shelly bashing posters: Shelly has more brains and drive in her pinky finger that Rocky and Rahall combined!
    However, it does not matter how many hearings are held or what the representatives polictical affiliation is, little, if anything will come of them.
    A great example is the price of gasoline at the pump. Every time it skyrockets, Congress calls hearings and drags oil company executives in front of a committee and blasts their price gouging. Those same committee members and oil executives met in an ante room over coffee and donuts before the hearings and the execs were advised, "I'll have to blast you during the hearing for the folks back home, but it will be just political theatre and we will still be buddies."
    Get a grip folks, your trust in politicains to protect you or your family are misguided at best.

  • LFarmer

    The first paragraph says 100,000 the MCHM affecting my brain? Could have sworn it was 300,000 people.
    I hope someone brought a giant mirror to this hearing for Capito to look at.
    Freedom's portion of culpability in this matter is undeniable, but Ms. Capito and the rest need to stop beating a dead horse. Freedom is a no show at the hearing, and is busy reastructuring their corporation because they can. They have always operated with impunity in WV because of the likes of Capito and her ilk. Always! You can't spend you entire career lobbying for deregulation of environmental standards and everything else the coal industry is involved in, and then act so surprised when something like this happens? Geez Ms. Capito, I have know idea how something like this could have happened in your home county!

  • Silence Dogood

    Bashing Capito is typical of the leftist lunatics. What have the democrtas brought us? Eighty years of being ranked 49th in just about every economic category.

  • Polly the Pundit

    I can think of a few questions...

    a) What got lost in translation between MCHM and "Crude MCHM"?

    b) Why ididn't anyone think to test the contents of the source tank which would have found the presence of PPH in addition to MCHM - why did it take two (2) weeks and the self disclosure of Freedom Industries to learn what was in the tank?

    c) Do we really know what was in the tank(s) or are we still taking Freedom at its owrd?

    d) Why did it take nine (9) hours for West Virginia American Water to issue the minimal use order?

    e) Who came up with the flush protocol(s) and why were they so grossly insufficient?

    f) Where was the DEP for the past 20 years with regard to inspecting this site? F/U question - what have they been doing with the millions in federal dollars thay have been getting to prevent this sort of event?

    g) Why didn't the Committee issue subpoenas for Freedom and WV AWC to appear at today's hearing?

    If you don't ask the tough questions, you won't get answers with substance.

  • rick

    Grandstanding at it's worst. Thought she was the hands off WV as far as regulation of polluters was concerned.

  • jay zoom

    MUST BE AN ELECTION YEAR. all talk--no action--just a big show that's what she"ll do in Washington as well. hopefully we will not have to worry about that. hide behind curtains I hear your good at that.

  • JTC

    If this were not an election year she we be no where to be found. GOP equals Grandstanding Opportunistic Politician!

  • Doug M

    She has to make herself look good for the Senate seat. There isn't a damn thing she can do but pretend she cares.

  • Jason412

    I thought Freedom had been "cooperating with the DEP during the investigation"

    It's pretty conspicuous that no one in the WV media has reported the felon founder of Freedom was an accountant for Danny Jones. God forbid a journalist offend one of the politicians.

  • DP

    2014 Election Results:
    Shelley: 55%-At Least
    Natalie: 45%- At Best

    Then you Shelley bashers-like you little richard-will have SIX MORE YEARS to gripe and moan!!!!!

    • The bookman


  • DP

    richard-sounds like you really think highly of yourself. Only pea brained idiots spell their first (or maybe last) name with a lower case letter! You're obviously 100% in the bag for Natalie Tennant. What in the world has she ever done for WV? I know, she fired the musket at the Mountaineer games. Anything else of note?

    Maybe you can explain to me richard why NT failed to enlighten WV Dems in the 2012 primary that a Texas inmate was on the ballot. Isn't that part of her job as Secretary of State to inform voters of mishaps like this? By the way, he UNBELIEVABLY got 40% of the vote! Thanks to Natalie, WV again became the butt of late night comedians!

    NT would be NOTHING but an Obama FLUNKIE if she were to be elected! Thankfully, we don't have too worry about that as she's going to get crushed by Shelley in the election and then you'll have SIX MORE YEARS to gripe and moan little richie!!!!!

    • Jason412

      I'd think someone who abuses punctuation as much as you would have no room to call someone else out on how they write their name on a message board!!!!!!

  • JimJim

    "Shutdowns Shelley" won't do anything. Just grandstanding, you know there is an election coming.