The level of odorous chemical in West Virginians' water dropped Friday, but not enough for authorities to lift a warning to avoid drinking, cooking or bathing with it or to give a clear idea as to when things will change.
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin described the situation in nine counties Friday night as "pretty bad," both for residents being told the only thing they should do with their running water is flush their toilets and schools, restaurants, hotels and other businesses forced to close.
One bit of good news is tests on the affected water supply, which are being conducted on an hourly basis, show "the chemical level is declining."
"But we're just not sure exactly how long it's going to take before it's acceptable to lift the do-not-drink ban," the governor told CNN.
"It's caused us more problems than you could ever imagine," Jones said Friday night, pointing out people can't do things like wash their hands after going to bathroom or wash their clothes.
"... It's a prison from which we would like to be released."
When you park 35,000 gallons worth of hazardous chemicals next to a major water source, stuff like this is bound to happen. To make matters worse, there's no issuing boil orders or throwing a few Brita filters at the problem. And for a triple whammy, this steady stream of 4-methylcyclohexane methanol-tainted water is bound for the Ohio River as early as tomorrow morning.
This should be a wake-up call to anyone who thinks government regulations are an impediment to free enterprise. Some regulations are actually there for a damned good reason.
(Freedom Industries) President Gary Southern tried several times to walk away from a press conference Friday evening, saying "it has been an extremely long day," only to be called back by insistent reporters -- including one who noted how long a day it has been for all the West Virginians now without drinkable water or a full explanation as to why.
"This incident is extremely unfortunate and unanticipated," Southern said. "... This has been a very, very taxing process."
UPDATE: I wonder what Senator Joe Manchin has to say, especially in light of the following:
U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who led a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency when he was Governor, issued the following statement after the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled in favor of West Virginia. As Governor, Senator Manchin filed the first lawsuit against the EPA for overreaching its authority under the Clean Water Act.
“What a great day for West Virginia. I’m pleased and gratified to hear that the federal court has ruled in favor of our state, the miners who work here and the people who depend on coal for their livelihoods – and against the EPA for overstepping its boundaries,” Senator Manchin said. “As Governor, I sued the EPA because this bureaucratic agency was taking the wrong course. I remain hopeful that this court decision will put us on the path of getting the permits that we need to provide energy and jobs not just for West Virginia, but for this entire country. Looking ahead, I will work to make sure the EPA understands that it needs to work as an ally, not an adversary.”