Update: Board upholds chemical tank designations after 2014 spill

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - UPDATE 4/27/16 12:19 PM

The West Virginia Environmental Quality Board has upheld decisions by state regulators regarding which chemical storage tanks would be covered by new safety standards passed to try to prevent a repeat of a massive 2014 spill that fouled a drinking water supply.

Board members said in an order Tuesday that the state Department of Environmental Protection had legal authority to make the designations.

Attorneys for the Independent Oil and Gas Association of West Virginia and three related companies, C.I. McKown and Son Inc.; Pocono Energy Corp.; and Tempest Energy Corp., had appealed the designations.

The new safety standards were passed after a tank at Freedom Industries in Charleston leaked chemicals into the drinking water supply for 300,000 people in January 2014.

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


Federal prosecutors say they likely will not try to collect any criminal fine that Freedom Industries is ordered to pay unless the company responsible for the January 2014 Elk River chemical spill is first somehow able to pay off other creditors.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports (http://bit.ly/1PmTbmA) Acting U.S. Attorney Carol Casto and Assistant U.S. Attorney Phil Wright say in a new court filing that the federal government "has no intention of attempting to execute on any judgment of a fine to the detriment of Freedom's creditors."

The prosecutors filed their sentencing memo as sentencing hearings are set to begin next week for Freedom and six former company officials who have pleaded guilty to water pollution crimes.

Freedom faces minimum fines of $7,500 per day of violation as part of its plea agreement.

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)



 
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