Hey there readers, how ya doing out there? I hope everyone’s well and on their way to their own eco-adventure.
Having said that, I should warn you that I’m not here to talk about travel today. No, today I’m going to talk about something that hits a little…okay, a lot, closer to home. Some of you may know that I’m from the wild and wonderful state of West Virginia. The same West Virginia that has been in the news for the past week due to a tragic — and completely preventable — chemical spill that left over 300,000 people without potable tap water. Yes, you read that right. 300,000. That’s over 15% of WV’s entire population. Not only could citizens not drink the water, they could not even take a shower or do laundry with it. That is how toxic this chemical is. At least 4 people have been hospitalized and thousands more are dealing with less severe reactions such as burning eyes, widespread rashes, intense gastrointestinal pain and symptoms, and nausea.
7,500 gallons of 4-methylcyclohexane methanol did this much damage. I guess West Virginians should count themselves lucky since each tank holds 48,000 gallons. Did I mention this chemical is completely unregulated??? Not because the chemical has undergone stringent testing and been deemed safe for humans and the environment. No, it is unregulated because it happened to already be in use in 1976 when Congress passed the Toxic Substances Control Act and so was grandfathered in even though the only study done on its potential harmful effect involved a case study where 50% of the test subjects (rats) died!!
Needless to say, I’m beyond livid, beyond outraged. I’m homicidal. My friends drink that water. My cousin and her baby daughter use that water. I am not only angry at Freedom Industries for not having any procedure in place in the event of a spill, I am also angry at the Department of Environmental Protection and the EPA for not having ANY regulations on this chemical in place and every single greedy, shortsighted politician who decided to line their pockets with big coal money and endanger the very people they swore to protect, not to mention the coal companies (did I mention this chemical is used by coal mining companies to wash coal before it is sold?) who decided that the lives of a couple (million) dirty old hillbilly incestual rednecks aren’t worth a damn compared to the billions they can make off stripping our mountains bare, polluting our streams, and causing irreparable damage to our environment. Because that’s how we’re painted. Poor. Uneducated. Unworthy. Rednecks. Clearly we are too stupid to realize we are being taken advantage of. Right?
Wrong. We are a proud community that comforts each other in times of sorrow, knows that happiness is not based on how many things you own, values family, honor, and tradition, and protects our own in times of trouble. This is me protecting my own, my fellow West Virginians, my fellow human beings.
This situation is not okay.