Environment

What Could Go Wrong?

SK Ashby
Written by SK Ashby

FreedomIndustries

From the Department of Are You Fucking Kidding me?

The state which saw one of the worst chemical spills of the past several years is now considering walking back regulations that were passed in the wake of that spill.

After the Freedom Industries disaster, lawmakers in West Virginia passed a bill that required registration and inspection of above-ground storage tanks, but now they may almost entirely roll the regulations back.

The Aboveground Storage Tank Act, as it’s written now, applies to the nearly 50,000 registered above-ground storage tanks in West Virginia. With the exemptions outlined in this new bill, fewer than 1,000 would be subject to the act, Hansen said. The drop is severe partly because, according to Downstream Strategies, the oil and gas industry is associated with about three-quarters of the state’s above-ground storage tanks, so exempting the industry from the act greatly reduces the number of tanks that will be subject to the act.

The regulations will still apply to storage tanks that house chemicals related to the production of coal, as the Freedom Industries facility was, but oil and gas storage tanks will be exempt.

For reasons that aren't entirely clear, it is assumed that storage tanks that contain chemicals related to oil and gas are unambiguously safer and thus don't need to be documented or inspected. At least that's what lobbyists would lead you to believe.

It has only been a year since the Freedom Industries disaster which left local residents afraid to drink the water for months.