Charleston Mayor Jones Tells CNN he will Drink; Water Woes Nationwide Depicted by New York Times in 2009

Updated 6 years ago by Tony E. Rutherford, News Editor
Charleston Mayor Jones Tells CNN he will Drink;  Water Woes  Nationwide  Depicted by New York Times in 2009

“How can we get digital cable and Internet in our homes, but not clean water?” said Mrs. Hall-Massey, a senior accountant at one of the state’s largest banks.

She and her husband, Charles, do not live in some remote corner of Appalachia. Charleston, the state capital, is less than 17 miles from her home.

This quote did not come from one of the 300,000 affected by the January 2014 chemical spill that flowed from the Elk River into the water intake valves of  West Virginia American Water.

Today, Charleston Mayor Danny Jones appeared on CNN stating he would drink the 2014 water, but expressed strong concerns about Freedom Industries. He grappled with criticism of WV Gov. Tomblin by explaining that advising residents to make their own choice merely represented a comfortable compromise for those still hesitant to return to the faucet.

The Times artile  originated from a September 12, 2009 New York Times article written by Charles Duhigg. Headlined “Clean Water Laws are Neglected, at a Cost in Suffering,” the author demonstrates “the pattern is not limited to West Virginia.”  Referring to the Clean Water Act, Duhigg states that  “violations of the CWA have risen steadily across the nation.”

 The Times then found from 2004-2009 that “chemical factories, manufacturing plants and other workplaces have violated water pollution laws more than half a million times. The violations range from failing to report emissions to dumping toxins at concentrations regulators say might contribute to cancer, birth defects and other illnesses.” One in ten Americans have been exposed to drinking water that contains dangerous chemicals, the Times said.

According to the article, part of a series, the majority of polluters in 2009 “escaped punishment.” Why?  Officials of most states “repeatedly ignored obvious illegal dumping” and the Environmental Protection Agency “declined to intervene.”

Thus, Ms. Hall-Massey’s family then tried to “avoid any contact with the water. Her youngest son has scabs on his arms, legs and chest where the bathwater polluted with lead, nickel and other heavy metals caused painful rashes.

No mention of then of MCHM, Freedom Industries, or WV American Water. But the foreshadowing of a disaster is remarkable.

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