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March 14, 2014

West Virginia Passes Chemical Safety Bill


On March 8, 2014, the West Virginia legislature passed S.B. 373, a bill to improve the safety and regulation of above ground storage tanks in the state. The bill resulted from the spill on January 9, 2014, of 7,500 gallons of a coal processing chemical, 4-methylcyclohexane methanol, stored in an above-ground tank into the Elk River just upstream from the local water utility's intake pipe serving Charleston, West Virginia. Regulators banned residents' use of the water for five days. After the release, concerns were expressed in West Virginia, in other states, and at the federal level about the adequacy of information regarding the chemical's safety and health risks. BRAG reported on the spill and its impact on a new push to reform the federal TSCA. That report is available online.

West Virginia's newly passed bill to improve chemical safety in the state includes additional inspections for above-ground storage tanks, safety planning for water systems, and long-term health monitoring for those exposed to chemicals.