This is Ligonier's friendly neighborhood blog and an attempt to recapture our lively opinionated debates in a free speech zone.

Please join our conversations. Contributors welcome.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

When government agencies are starved (and/or bought off) to the point of incompetence and, as a result, companies are left to police themselves:

Lack of Oversight, Damaged Tanks Caused West Virginia Chemical Spill

"In a little-publicized report released last week, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) determined that an egregious lack of oversight at chemical storage company Freedom Industries, which used tanks damaged by corrosion to hold toxic materials, caused the disastrous chemical spill in West Virginia in January that contaminated the state's largest public water supply. Two holes in the bottom of a 48,000-gallon tank allowed hazardous materials to contaminate a portion of West Virginia's Elk River, which supplies fresh drinking water to nine of the state's counties.

But it was Freedom's widespread, deeply ingrained lack of oversight and necessary regulations — despite knowing the hazard the materials might present to the public — that was responsible for the spill, CSB said. "[It] has become clear that Freedom Industries did not have a rigorous inspection program for these chemical storage tanks sited close by the Elk River and just upstream from the facility supplying water to hundreds of thousands of people," said CSB investigator Lucy Tyler."