Waves From Elk River Spill Splash On Houston Chemical Plants

The Elk River in West Virginia. [Wikimedia Commons]
A trio of Democratic senators is sponsoring a bill to toughen chemical safety standards. The legislation follows the January 9th chemical spill in West Virginia’s Elk River.

Under the bill, chemical plants would have to meet federal minimum guidelines on standards ranging from construction to emergency response plans. The standards themselves would be set and overseen by the states. Thomas Visco is with the Texas Public Interest Research Group.

“Houston leads the country in the number of high-risk facilities, and when we say high-risk facilities, we’re talking about the number of people that each facility puts at risk. Houston has over 40 high-risk facilities, including 20 that put at least 100,000 people at risk. There are even some facilities that put more than 1 million people at risk.”

The American Chemistry Council released a statement saying it has concerns about the legislation in its current form. But the trade group said it’s willing to work with the bill’s sponsors to address the basic issues raised by the Elk River chemical spill.

The spill contaminated the water supply of nine West Virginia counties, affecting more than three hundred thousand individuals. Freedom Industries, the company responsible for the spill, has since declared bankruptcy.

Bio photo of Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Business Reporter

Andrew Schneider joined KUHF in January 2011, after more than a decade as a print reporter for The Kiplinger Letter...