Clean Water is a Priorityby Representative Shelley Moore Capito
Posted on 2014-01-16
CAPITO asked and was given permission to address the House for
Mrs. CAPITO. Mr. Speaker, for a week now, residents across the
Kanawha Valley have been told not to use their tap water for any
purpose. Businesses and schools have been closed for over a week. While
things are returning to normal for some residents, tens of thousands of
residents of West Virginia remain under a do-not-use water order due to
a chemical leak from Freedom Industries into the Elk River which is
upstream from the public water system, our water system.
For more than two decades, no government agency inspected this facility. Precious response time was lost because Freedom Industries did not immediately report the spill, and responders did not have sufficient information about the chemical.
We must examine our existing laws at all levels of government--local, State, and Federal--and find the gaps that allowed this spill to occur.
At my request, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will hold a hearing in Charleston to examine the causes of the spill, the response, and the actions that should be taken.
I want to thank the West Virginia National Guard, the West Virginia Department of Homeland Security, FEMA, first responders, and many, many West Virginians and volunteers across the State, along with our neighbors from neighboring States. But West Virginians were just amazing. We joined together to meet this challenge and have exemplified once again that Mountaineer spirit which we are very well known for.