West Virginia is still thirsty.
The West Virginia water crisis began on January 9, 2014 when a coal chemical company leaked a clear, licorice-smelling chemical into the water of the Elk River. This chemical polluted the water in over two thirds of the state causing one of the biggest environmental disasters in US history. Water and ice have been trucked in by Homeland Security and other agencies have given the 300,000 residents some relief. But twelve days later with systemic flushing of the water system, the water still smells and looks foul in many areas.
When asked about drinking the water Governor Earl Ray Tomblin of West Virginia said, “It’s your decision.” A more uncaring statement could not have been made considering that water is a basic requirement of life. The chemical company that was the source of the leak, Freedom Industries Inc., declared bankruptcy this past Friday January 17, 2014, when it was becoming apparent the pollution was working its way from West Virginia to the water supply of Cincinnati, Ohio. But the behind the scenes story of the company where the leak originated is a nasty twisted tale of greed, corruption and “King Coal”. The owner of Freedom Industries, a producer of chemicals for the coal industry, is Cliff Forest, who is also the owner of the Rosebud Mining Company. Rosebud is one of the largest coal mining companies in Pennsylvania and Ohio.
When Obama first ran for President in 2008, Forest was a political donor. However, when Obama became President and wanted to strengthen the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) Forest then became a political foe. He backed Boehner and Romney in their efforts to defeat Obama in the 2012 election. Just last week despite the chemical spill, Boehner declared, “There was no need to change current EPA regulations regarding the coal industry.” Now the same industry threatens the water supply in Boehner’s home district in Ohio.
Cliff Forest has not appeared at any press conference or any media release. Instead, like a shadow he quietly put together a legal deal to form another company that will purchase the assets of Freedom Industries. Forest will then own one of the biggest coalmines and one of the biggest manufacturers of specialty coal chemicals in the country. Because of this legal deal, Cliff Forest has escaped all legal liability for poisoning the water in two states. ‘Clean Coal’ indeed.