John Boehner on West Virginia chemical spill: Let’s not rush to over-regulate

By Eric W. Dolan
Tuesday, January 14, 2014 12:43 EDT
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John Boehner (Screenshot)
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House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) on Tuesday blamed the Obama administration for a disastrous chemical spill in West Virginia.

He said at a news conference in D.C. that the country had enough environmental and health regulations, but they were not being properly enforced.

“The issue is this, we have enough regulations on the books,” Boehner remarked. “What the administration ought to be doing is actually doing their jobs. Why wasn’t this plant inspected since 1991?”

“I am entirely confident that there are ample regulations already on the books to protect the health and safety of the American people,” Boehner added. “Somebody ought to be held accountable here.”

“What we try to do is look at those regulations that we think are cumbersome, are over-the-top and are costing our economy jobs. That’s what our focus continues to be.”

About 300,000 residents in West Virginia were warned last week not to use tap water because it had become contaminated by the chemical spill. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin declared a state of emergency as restaurants, shops, and schools were forced to shut down.

Methylcyclohexene methanol — a chemical used for coal washing and preparation — leaked from a storage tank at a site run by Freedom Industries into the nearby Elk River.

Chemical manufacturers are required to be inspected in West Virginia, but chemical storage facilities are not.

Randy Huffman, the state’s Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection, hopes lawmakers will change that following the disastrous spill, according to Metro News.

“For this type of facility, the administrative processes, the records, the certifications, those types of processes are much more important for minimizing the risk of leaks and so forth because, with tanks, you can’t always see a leak,” he said.

Watch video, broadcast by C-SPAN on January 14, below.

Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan has served as an editor for Raw Story since August 2010, and is based out of Sacramento, California. He grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and received a Bachelor of Science from Bradley University. Eric is also the publisher and editor of PsyPost. You can follow him on Twitter @ewdolan.
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