Community group takes the lead in pushing CSB recommendations forward

Back in 2011, the Chemical Safety Board recommended (after the 2008 Bayer CropScience explosion) the creation of a Hazardous Chemical Release Prevention Program for the Kanawha Valley. This program would be modeled after a highly successful program in Contra Costa County, CA. Even the January 9th Freedom leak was not enough to get serious movement on this recommendation, other than a brief reference in SB 373 that the Public Water System Supply Study Commission “review and consider” it as part of their charge.

Fortunately, People Concerned About Chemical Safety, an organization with a long history of advocating for chemical safety in the Kanawha Valley, is not waiting around any longer for the state government to act. They are convening the necessary stakeholders to try to make this happen. From a press release issued yesterday:

Between now and June 2015, the Roadmap Planning Team will meet monthly to outline what a Chemical Release Prevention Program should look like for the Kanawha Valley. The team will identify national best practices and garner public input among stakeholder groups in the development of an implementation roadmap.

Representatives ranging from public health, emergency response, occupational safety, labor, industry, impacted citizen and innovation have all been invited to participate. “Since the recommendation was originally made as a result of the 2008 Bayer CropScience incident and reiterated after the 2010 DuPont incident, we reached out to them to lead industry interest in the process. We’re still waiting on a few RSVPs, and optimistic that we will have a broad representation of interest at the table which is exciting,” says Nye. “We all have a common interest in preventing chemical disasters in our valley.”

The first meeting of PCACS’ Chemical Release Prevention Roadmap Planning Team will be held on Friday, October 24th from 10:00am to noon and is open to the public. The meeting will be held at the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department on Lee Street in Charleston in the 1st floor conference room. Public comment will be taken at the end of the meeting, though many opportunities to provide input will exist between now and June. For more information, contact People Concerned About Chemical Safety’s Executive Director, Maya Nye, at 304-389-6859 or maya@chemsafety.org.

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