Legislature will review law violations in future - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Legislature will review law violations in future in light of chemical spill

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Senate President Jeff Kessler, D-Marshall, said Friday he isn't sure if laws were violated in reporting the chemical spill.

"Many stores have plans underway to immediately start shipping water from surrounding states," Kessler said after the regular floor session convened Jan. 10. "Our immediate concern is public safety."

The regular session of the Senate usually includes about 34 members, but Friday was an exception, with about 22 while many members headed home after Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin declared the Mountain State under a state of emergency.

"(The future may bring) concerns if there was a delay," Kessler said. "We will be looking into if there was a delay in reporting the spill under control."

House Speaker Tim Miley, D-Harrison, said he didn't see a need for legislative action at the moment, saying he's in favor of an investigation.

Delegate Mike Manypenny, D-Taylor, said he's considering introducing a bill that would create a threshold system to trigger an alarm once a set amount of a chemical release is reached.

United States Attorney Booth Goodwin said Friday the following statement regarding yesterday's release of a potentially dangerous chemical into the southern West Virginia water supply:

"Yesterday's release of a potentially dangerous chemical into our water supply has put hundreds of thousands of West Virginians at risk, severely disrupted our region's economy, and upended people's daily lives. My office and other federal law enforcement authorities have opened an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the release. We will determine what caused it and take whatever action is appropriate based on the evidence we uncover."

Kessler said his advice to the public under this state of emergency would be to "stay calm."

"It is going to be resolved quickly, remain calm, share resources, check on the elderly," he added.

"We are hopeful it will be resolved in the very near future."