S. 1961 and H.R. 4024: Legislative Responses to a Chemical Storage Facility Spill [March 26, 2014] [open pdf - 310KB]
"In January 2014, an estimated 10,000 gallons of the chemical 4-methylcyclohexanemethanol (MCHM), mixed with a small amount of glycol ethers, leaked from a 46,000-gallon aboveground storage tank at a chemical storage facility owned by Freedom Industries located 1.5 miles upstream from the intake pipes of a water treatment facility serving the area of Charleston, WV. A significant amount of the chemical entered the river and reached the public water system, prompting state and federal emergency declarations and causing the local water utility to issue a 'do not use' order to more than 300,000 commercial and residential customers and others in nine counties of West Virginia. The chemical storage tank at the center of the West Virginia incident appears to not have been subject to regulation under various federal or state laws aimed at protecting water resources from chemical releases. Oversight hearings by House and Senate committees began within a month to review the event, and to identify policy issues regarding the federal and state roles in regulating chemical facilities and whether legislation might be warranted. In further response to the spill, S. 1961, the Chemical Safety and Preparedness Act, was introduced on January 27, 2014, and H.R. 4024, the Ensuring Access to Clean Water Act of 2014, was introduced on February 10, 2014. This report describes and analyzes these two bills."
CRS Report for Congress, R43441