The Charleston, West Virginia Chemical Spill

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0 Monday, February 10, 2014 @ 09:00 | Contact: Jim Billimoria 202-225-9446

Location of this field hearing:

Kanawha County Courthouse
Ceremonial Courtroom 4
2nd Floor
407 Virginia Street, East
Charleston, WV 25301

Transcript of Hearing

Summary of Subject Matter

Witnesses (updated Feb. 6, 2014):

  • U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV)
  • Mr. Gary Southern, President, Freedom Industries (invited)
  • Mr. Jeff McIntyre, President, West Virginia American Water | Written Testimony
  • Mr. Jimmy Gianato, Director, West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management | Written Testimony
  • Mr. Gordon Merry, Director, Cabell County Office of Emergency Services | Written Testimony
  • Dr. Rafael Moure-Eraso, Chairman, U.S Chemical Safety Board | Written Testimony
  • Mr. Dale Petry, Director, Kanawha County Homeland Security and Emergency Management | Written Testimony
  • Mr. Mike Dorsey, Director, Homeland Security and Emergency Response, West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection | Written Testimony
  • Dr. Letitia E. Tierney, Commissioner, Bureau for Public Health and State Health Officer, West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources | Written Testimony
  • Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA)

    Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
    Hearing on “The Charleston, West Virginia Chemical Spill”

    February 10, 2014
    Opening Statement
    (Remarks as Prepared) 

    I want to thank Representative Capito for requesting this important hearing and hosting the Committee here in her hometown of Charleston.  I also want to thank Ranking Member Rahall for working with us on this hearing and ensuring that we understand how important this issue is to him and his constituents as well.  

    It is critically important for this committee to be here today, to hear from the folks who have been on the ground since the spill occurred, and to gain an understanding of what happened in this incident.  I can only imagine how difficult it has been for the residents of this region over the past month.  The uncertainty and unanswered questions must be overwhelming at times.  

    As Americans we all should feel safe to drink the water that comes out of our faucets.  We should be able to take a shower without worrying what’s in the water.  We should have confidence that our governmental leaders are doing everything in their power to ensure the safety of our water supply.  That is why we are here today.  

    The past four weeks have no doubt been a rollercoaster ride for everyone here.  I know that people are concerned, frustrated, and looking for answers.  Representatives Capito and Rahall have made it very clear how important it is for us to be on the ground to see firsthand and truly understand what is happening here.

    We are here to get your firsthand accounts of what happened -- what went wrong, what went right, and what needs to be improved; where we need to focus our attention and work to find solutions for the future; to hear directly from those who were at the spill site when it first became clear what was happening; and to hear from those who have been working day and night since then to help clean up and protect those who live here.

    Again, I thank everyone who has taken precious time out of their days to be with us here. 

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