Company Responsible for West Virginia Chemical Spill No-Shows Congressional Hearing

GarySouthernThe entire fiasco that’s been the Freedom Industries chemical spill into the water source for thousands of West Virginia residents seems to get worse by the day.

It started with reports about the company not reporting the spill immediately.  Then questions about exactly what chemicals were spilled.  Then there was the classic press gathering where the president of Freedom Industries, Gary Southern, took a refreshing drink of bottled water while discussing the contamination of drinking water his company was responsible for.

Then I’m sure many of you heard about the company filing for bankruptcy shortly after the spill, more or less protecting them from lawsuits they would have undoubtedly faced.

Well now, when a Congressional hearing was being held concerning the spill, not a single person from Freedom Industries decided to show up.

You know, the company responsible for the damn chemical spill to begin with.

Republican Representative Shelley Moore Capito said, “I find that extremely telling.  Freedom Industries’ decision not to testify today compounds its gross misconduct, and is an absolute affront to every person impacted by its spill.”

But what I call this chemical spill is unregulated capitalism in action.  Heck, look at this situation.  With regulations, this company got away with this.  Do people really believe deregulating big corporations would cause fewer instances such as these?

You’re insane if you really believe that.

When asked by the Huffington Post for comment, Freedom Industries directed to them to their lawyer who issued a statement saying that no one from Freedom Industries showed up, “because the company is relatively small and we are focused exclusively on remediation of the spill.”


They didn’t show up because they’re cowards.  They undoubtedly know it was their mishandling and incompetence which led to this spill, and instead of showing up at this hearing to face the harsh questions concerning their incompetence – they decided not to go.

It’s ridiculous.  The company responsible for the chemical spill that led to these hearings refuses to show up?  And their “excuse” is that they’re just a small company focused on cleaning up the spill.

It’s something you would almost expect The Onion to write.  A story about a company that poisons the water for thousands of Americans deciding not to show up at the hearing because they basically didn’t want to.

Which might be a funny article, if it hadn’t really happened.

But the next time someone wants to talk about the “evils” of regulation and the “greatness” of deregulation, just point them to instances such as the chemical spill in West Virginia, the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico or the plant explosion in West, Texas.  Because even with regulation these horrible accidents happened.  Without these regulations I can promise you we wouldn’t just see a few more of these accidents, we’d see many more and they’d be a lot worse.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


Facebook comments

  • James

    So they filed Bankruptcy and no one had the money to spend to go to DC for the hearings ? Guess the Tax Payers will have to foot those bills too !!

    • Secular_Humanist

      The company belongs to the Koch Brothers (or at least parts of it). Those people didn’t show up, so your precious tx payers didn’t have to pay for travel… except now they are in conempt of congress and it will go to a judge…
      If I would be YOU, I would be more worried about what tax payers will have to pay for cleaning up the spill and restoring safe water to 400,000 West Virginians…

      • Brian David

        If you look closely I think you might detect a hint of sarcasm in the previous comment.

  • 503me

    This is criminal

  • CM

    Because that’s how those “self sufficient” “rugged individualists” roll, well, unless something happens that is.

  • Rick Haste

    and the Koch brothers want to build a pipeline across Americas beautiful prairies…no way

    • ElRodeo


  • hdusey

    Deregulation is the way to go…. just look how well it worked out here in WV and in TX when a huge chunk of a town was blown apart by an explosion…. etc., etc., etc….. yeah no regulations…. who the heck needs those pesky little annoyances????

    • HduseyWhatWereYouThinking

      Don’t blame “deregulation” because that’s not what happened. The whole article focuses on how these environmental infractions occurred in spite of your Big Gov regulations in action. Read it again and don’t embarrass yourself with these sort of comments.

  • For all we know, they are immune from the US Congress. They are a corporation. They are not like us mere humans.


      What? But I thought they said corporations were people?

  • Veritas vos Liberabit

    I cannot imagine if Freedom Industries were a “large” corporation, how much damage it would’ve inflicted. Conservative/Republicans advocate for less Government intrusion and less Government regulations. This is typical behavior for the symbolism of Corporate Capitalism, manifested by the evils of Conservative Capitalism.. Bangladesh anyone?

  • rossbro

    Put the former Corporate officers in jail.

  • El Rodeo

    Wow, between the BP oil spill and now this, Obama really has some terrible environmental offenses under his leadership.

    • Keldog

      Yeah, Blame it on Obama. Thats an easy out. Its always his fault, That Bastard !!!!!! Brilliant I’m sure he had everything to do with that.

  • Matthew Reece

    “Then I’m sure many of you heard about the company filing for bankruptcy
    shortly after the spill, more or less protecting them from lawsuits they would have undoubtedly faced.”

    Of course. Corporations are legal fictions created by the state to shield executives from liability, just like what has happened in this case. Corporations in their current sense are incompatible with a free market. In a free market, individuals are responsible for they damage they do, and must use their private wealth to perform restitution.

    “But what I call this chemical spill is unregulated capitalism in
    action. Heck, look at this situation. With regulations, this company
    got away with this.”

    If there were regulations, then how is this possibly an instance of unregulated capitalism? You also fail to understand the purpose of regulations. Regulations are created by politicians and regulators, who are bribed by industry leaders to write the regulations to deter smaller competitors and shield executives from liability. In a similar case in North Carolina, Duke Energy was thusly shielded from lawsuit attempts by citizens until their coal ash leaked into the Dan River. The state used its regulatory authority to stifle the free market method of dealing with pollution (suing for property damage or the imminent threat thereof).