Governor Tomblin is Not a Scientist


Is it safe to drink the water in West Virginia? Governor Tomblin says it’s up to you to decide.

“It’s your decision,” Gov. Tomblin told reporters at a press conference on Monday. “If you do not feel comfortable drinking or cooking with this water then use bottled water.”

“I’m not going to say absolutely, 100 percent that everything is safe,” Tomblin continued. “But what I can say is if you do not feel comfortable, don’t use it.” [...]

At Monday’s press conference, Tomblin also emphasized the 1 ppm safety standard. “We’ve been in this thing for 11 days. It’s a very complicated issue. I’m not a scientist, you know. I have to rely on the best information that I have,” Tomblin said.

No, the governor isn’t a scientist, but I find it to be pretty pathetic that “the best information” the governor has access to is ‘I don’t know.’

Is that his fault? Not necessarily. You can spend hours searching for information on MCHM (I have) and find almost nothing because there have been almost no studies on it.

While its effects on humans are relatively known, its effects on wildlife and the environment are a mystery. There have been no studies of its effect on fish, and the only study of its effects on other wildlife is limited to its effects on rabbits.

It remains to be seen if there exists the political will to increase oversight of poisonous chemicals at the local level inside West Virginia. We already know House Republicans in D.C. won’t sign off on new regulations. House Republicans have spent the last several years attempting to defund the Environmental Protection Agency. More recently, Republicans have alleged that executive action taken to regulation greenhouse gases is unconstitutional.

Switching to renewable and clean energy sources would certainly remove the unknown threat of poisonous chemicals used in the production of coal.

(AP photo)