Opinion

Leave chemical monitoring up to the states

An editorial from The Intelligencer Wheeling News-Register

WHEELING, W.Va. — By definition, both the state of West Virginia and the federal government failed about 300,000 Mountain State residents badly last month. Most of them probably assumed government at some level was ensuring hazardous chemicals stored near water supplies was being monitored to prevent leaks and spills.

They were wrong. After thousands of gallons of a chemical leaked out of a Freedom Industries storage tank into the Elk River at Charleston, the shocking truth was learned: Neither state nor federal agencies had visited the facility in years. No one was minding the store, so to speak.

Both the West Virginia Legislature and Congress are considering new regulations on the chemical industry. Incredibly enough, some say no new oversight is needed. Again, that simply is not true.

However, the issue should not be addressed merely by throwing rolls of red tape at it. Intelligent, necessary regulations – not new rules simply to allow politicians to tell voters they have done something – are needed…

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