Freedom Industries, the company the major corporate media has been pretending is just a local West Virginia company, actually has ties to Koch Industries and the Koch brothers. The Koch's have used their billions, through the American Legislative Exchange Council to influence compliant politicians to rewrite business regulations and demagogue the idea that government regulation is oppressive and is damaging corporate competitiveness in the global economy. This incident would seem to prove that the Koch's have spent millions pushing yet another corporate lie for profit at the publics expense.
Freedom Industries of Charleston, West Virginia is the distributor of Georgia-Pacific Chemicals Talon line of coal cleaning chemical reagents. Georgia-Pacific Chemical is a subsidiary of Koch Industries and their board of directors reads like a who's who of Koch Industries management team members including Charles Koch. The Talon brand has been sold by Freedom Industries in West Virginia, , Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, Minnesota, Kentucky and Michigan.
In addition to being a Koch subsidiary Georgia-Pacific has been part of ALEC, another Koch brothers financed enterprise to provide state legislators with pieces of ready made corporate friendly Right Wing legislation, such as voter suppression laws, Right to Work (for less), and over 800 pieces of corporate friendly legislation that removes the average citizen from participation in any form of democratic process.
The Koch's claim of jack booted gestapo enforcement from government oversight would be laughable in light of this disastrous chemical spill that has left over 300, 000 without water and hundreds complaining of effects from the chemicals in the water. OSHA had never inspected Freedom Industries till after the spill to assure worker safety. The State of West Virginia DEP had not inspected the Elk River site of Freedom Industries since 1991 when it was owned by another company and was not used for storing hundreds of pounds of 4-methylhyclohexanenmethyl the mining reagent suspected of being the chemical in the West Virginia spill.
According to an article by Ken Ward Jr. in the January 11, 2014 Charleston, Gazette-Mail the chemical storage tanks in question are 1.5 miles upstream from West Virginia American Water's intake to supply over 300,000 people in and around Charleston with water. Freedom Industries in compliance with the Emergency Planning and Communities Right to Know Act had filed documents acknowledging the storage of the mining reagents at the Elk River storage site. Both Federal and state officials were aware of this yet seemingly had no real emergency plan in place.
That is surprising given Georgia-Pacific's history of being involved in some of the worst toxic waste sites in America according to the Political Economy Research Institute of the University of Massachusetts. In addition Georgia -Pacific has been one of the worst air polluters as well.
This story isn't about over reaching big brother government it is about incredibly lax over sight that may well be proven to be the result of bought and paid for politicians willingness to look the other way for campaign cash. West Virginia has a history with the coal industry of being run by Big Corporations not the people of West Virginia.