West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin has proposed new legislation to regulate the operation and inspection of above ground storage tanks (ASTs) in the state, following the January 9, 2014 chemical spill of 7,500 gallons of 4-methylcyclohexane methanol, also known as crude MCHM, into the Elk River.
Some 300,000 West Virginia residents were impacted by the spill of the coal-cleaning chemical that leaked from a storage tank owned by Freedom Industries in Charleston, the state capital. The company has operated for some 22 years in the heart of coal country, but recently declared bankruptcy in the face of numerous spill-related lawsuits.
Gov. Tomblin’s proposal would authorize the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection to implement a program requiring AST operators to report on their tanks’ locations, construction, and maintenance, and would require annual inspections and certifications of ASTs.