Freedom Industries Knew Their Tanks Were Substandard


The U.S. Chemical Safety Board revealed at a hearing in West Virginia today that three months prior to the January leak, Freedom Industries was made aware that their equipment was substandard by a firm the company hired to inspect it.

From the Charleston Gazette

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — An inspection three months before the Jan. 9 chemical leak found that chemical storage tanks at Freedom Industries did not meet industry standards, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board has found.

The inspection, conducted by Tank Engineering and Management Consultants, which was hired by Freedom, noted the tanks had “been maintained to some structural integrity” but were not in full compliance with industry standards, CSB Chairman Rafael Moure-Eraso told a House subcommittee field hearing Monday morning in Charleston.

Among other things, the Chemical Safety Board chairman also revealed that the tanks MCHM leaked from were over 50 years old and that the outside containment wall was simply a row of cinder blocks.

There was no testimony from Freedom Industries featured at the House hearing today because representatives of the company did not show up.

“I find that extremely telling,” said Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV). “Freedom Industries’ decision not to testify today compounds its gross misconduct, and is an absolute affront to every person impacted by its spill.” [...]

“They’ve been basically out of the picture since day one of this crisis, even though they were the cause of the crisis,” Executive Director of West Virginia Citizen Action Gary Zuckett, told ClimateProgress, recalling the events of the week following the spill. “The first thing that [Freedom] did was file for bankruptcy. The second thing they did was open a new corporation to loan the first corporation money.”

As a former college student you cannot file for bankruptcy to clear yourself of overwhelming student debt, but for some reason Freedom Industries can file bankruptcy to shield itself from the repercussions of sickening hundreds of people, damaging the environment, wrecking the local economy, and shuttering schools. No one even knows what the long-term health impacts of this spill could be.