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Rockefeller tells colleagues W.Va. regulation has ‘always been soft’

By Dave Boucher

Charleston Daily Mail

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Senators from across the country said it’s time to revise federal chemical safety standards in light of the Elk River chemical spill.

The scope of those revisions remained under debate at a congressional hearing Tuesday in Washington that saw testimony from several West Virginia officials.

At the heart of the debate was the Chemical Safety and Drinking Water Protection Act, proposed by Sens. Joe Manchin and Jay Rockefeller, both D-W.Va., and Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.

Manchin and Rockefeller both argued for the bill Tuesday in front of the Water and Wildlife Subcommittee, part of the Senate’s Committee on Environment and Public Works.

In a fiery speech, Rockefeller said he is “upset” and “embarrassed” such a spill would happen in West Virginia. He said it could happen again without federal action.

“The idea that somehow God has it in his plan to make sure industry is going to make life safe for you: Not true,” Rockefeller said.

“Industry does almost anything it can, and gets away with it all the time, whether it’s the coal industry … or water or whatever. They will cut corners and they will get away with it.

“Regulation is soft in West Virginia, it’s always been soft,” he said.

After the hearing, Manchin said he was excited the measure is receiving Senate attention so quickly. The bill is set for markup in the Senate committee next week, another good sign, he said.

There’s still some time before the bill goes before a full Senate vote. Before that happens, Manchin said it’s important to get support from Republicans…

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