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OpEdNews Op Eds    H1'ed 1/17/14

Company Responsible for Major Chemical Spill Is a Great Candidate for the Corporate Death Penalty

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Message Thom Hartmann
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Source: Alternet

Freedom Industries should face some serious accountability 

Time For A Corporate Death Penalty
Time For A Corporate Death Penalty
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It's time to kill some companies.

When businesses operate in ways that are clearly detrimental to the public interest -- they should be dissolved and their assets should be distributed to the people they hurt

This will create a marketplace opportunity for a company that behaves in a more reputable fashion.

Take what's going in West Virginia right now for example.

Around 300,000 people in nine counties across West Virginia still don't have access to clean water today as state and federal officials continue to try and clean up a massive leak of toxic chemicals.

State officials started restricting water use on Thursday after it was discovered that almost 7,500 gallons of MCHM, a chemical used to clean coal, had seeped out of a storage facility owned by company called Freedom Industries into the Elk River, a major local source of drinking water.

The short-term effects of contact with MCHM include itchiness, burning of the eyes, diarrhea, and, in some cases, vomiting. The long-term effects are still pretty much a mystery.

West Virginia's governor, Earl Ray Tomblin, has declared some areas safe for drinking, but West Virginia isn't home free just yet.

There's still a long ways to go before the spill is cleaned up.

In order for the state to declare water supplies safe, samples have to show that MCHM contamination is at or less than 1 parts per million.

And as of yet, the state has provided no specific timetable for when areas affected by the spill will be cleared for everyday water use.

Meanwhile, West Virginian public officials have some explaining to do.

The plant where the leak started has not been inspected by any kind of state or federal agency in more than two decades.

In a state like West Virginia, this kind of hands-off approach to regulation is, sadly, kind of expected.

The coal industry is a huge part of the local economy and holds a stranglehold over local politics.

In an environment like this, companies like Freedom Industries feel like they can act without any regard for public safety or the environment.

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Thom Hartmann is a Project Censored Award-winning New York Times best-selling author, and host of a nationally syndicated daily progressive talk program on the Air America Radio Network, live noon-3 PM ET. www.thomhartmann.com His most recent books are "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight," "Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights," "We The People," "What Would Jefferson Do?," "Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle (more...)

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