Governor Tomblin Announces Water Crisis After Action Review Available Online

Updated 3 years ago Special to HNN From a Gov. Tomblin Press Statement
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (January 9, 2015) - Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin today released the final After Action Review (AAR) of West Virginia’s response to Elk River chemical spill and provided an update on ongoing efforts by state officials to protect West Virginia’s water resources.


“This After Action Review plays a critical role in evaluating our emergency response and gives us the opportunity to be better prepared to respond if a similar incident occurs in the future,” Gov. Tomblin said. “The review outlines the steps taken by a number of state agencies and offices, including the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, the Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, the Department of Health and Human Resources’ Bureau for Public Health, and the National Guard during the initial emergency response. Moving forward, we are committed to improving our overall efforts to strengthen communication and preparation for future emergencies.”

Following the state’s initial emergency response, Gov. Tomblin directed Adjutant General James A. Hoyer, West Virginia National Guard; Jimmy Gianato, Director of Homeland Security and Emergency Management; and Peter Markham, General Counsel for the Office of the Governor, to coordinate and supervise a comprehensive review of the state’s emergency response including recommendations for how emergency responses may be improved for similar situations in the future.

The After Action Review includes responses from state agencies, county and local emergency management offices, volunteer and charity organizations, the West Virginia National Guard, and other entities responded to the nine-county area affected by the chemical spill and addresses ways the state can improve its emergency response systems.

In the past year, Gov. Tomblin has led efforts to both protect West Virginia’s public waterways and engage federal partners to secure funding for additional testing and toxicological studies to determine potential long-term health impacts of MCHM.

“In February, we took swift action to outline a reasonable regulatory structure to set specific standards for above ground storage tanks across West Virginia,” Gov. Tomblin said. “With the help of the Legislature, we passed the Water Resource Protection Act that helps us inventory tanks and ensure they are registered and inspected to meet integrity standards. Today, more than 1,100 tanks have been identified as not fit for service, and 80 of those tanks are located near drinking water sources, contain harmful chemicals, or both. A plan has been set in motion to get the unfit tanks out of operation. The Water Resource Protection Act is working, and I am confident we can continue to work together to ensure the safety of our water sources.”

“My administration, particularly DHHR Secretary Karen Bowling and State Health Commissioner Dr. Rahul Gupta, will continue to work with local, state and federal partners to secure funding for additional MCHM tests and long-term medical surveillance to assess any potential health implications for our residents as a result of the Jan. 9 Elk River chemical spill. We appreciate the assistance of the CDC on this issue and look forward to moving forward with the process,” Gov. Tomblin said.

To view the After Action Review in its entirety, click here​​​.​​​​ To view the appendices of the After Action Review, click here.  ​​
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