West Virginia House Passes Chemical Spill Regulation Bill

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After weeks of debate and rewrites, West Virginia House delegates passed new chemical spill safeguards for storage tanks and water supplies.

The proposal that the House cleared 95-0 on Wednesday reacts to the Freedom Industries leak on Jan. 9. The leak contaminated the drinking water of about 300,000 people for days.

Lawmakers say the bill reforms a regulatory gray area by adding inspections and registrations at many above-ground storage tanks. About 150 water systems would need protection plans.

Delegates added a health monitoring program Wednesday. Little is known about long-term health effects of the spilled chemicals.

The bill requires the water company in the spill to install early detection technology for contaminants or explain why it can't.

The House and Senate need to work out a compromised bill by Saturday's end to the legislative session.