Latest News, WV Press InSight Videos

Six charged in W.Va. water pollution case

Charleston Gazette photo by Kenny Kemp U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin, surrounded by other officials from the U.S. Department of Justice, the FBI and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, announces Wednesday that he has filed criminal charges against six former Freedom Industries officials, and the company itself, for their roles in last January’s chemical leak that contaminated the Kanawha Valley’s drinking water.
Charleston Gazette photo by Kenny Kemp
U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin, surrounded by other officials from the U.S. Department of Justice, the FBI and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, announces Wednesday that he has filed criminal charges against six former Freedom Industries officials, and the company itself, for their roles in last January’s chemical leak that contaminated the Kanawha Valley’s drinking water.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Federal prosecutors charged Freedom Industries and six of its owners, managers and employees with criminal violations of the Clean Water Act related to the January 2014 chemical leak that contaminated the drinking water of 300,000 people in Charleston and surrounding communities.

Dennis P. Farrell, William E. Tis, Charles E. Herzing and Gary L. Southern were each charged with three counts of violating federal environmental laws. Each man is charged with failing to meet a “reasonable standard of care” in running the company.

“Their negligence resulted in and caused the discharge of a pollutant, that is, MCHM, from point sources into the Elk River,” stated an indictment, unsealed today by U.S. Magistrate Judge Dwane L. Tinsley.

“Farrell, Tis, Herzing and Southern approved funding only for those projects that would result in increased business revenue for Freedom or that were necessary to make immediate repairs to equipment that was broken or about to break,” the indictment says. It says they failed to take any action to fund other repairs necessary for upkeep or improvements.

The charges against Farrell, 58, of Charleston; Tis, 60, of Verona, Pennsylvania; Herzing, 63, of McMurray, Pennsylvania; and Southern, 53, of Marco Island, Florida, were spelled out in a 37-page indictment handed up by a federal grand jury that met in Beckley this week…

Comments are closed.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter