West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie E. Tennant this week urged House of Delegates leadership to restore medical monitoring to Senate Bill 373, which creates new standards for above-ground chemical storage tanks.
SB 373 was introduced in response to a major spill of the chemical MCHM which occurred on Jan. 9 and contaminated the water supply for approximately 300,000 West Virginians in nine counties.
A provision requiring long term medical monitoring of the effects of MCHM has been taken out of the bill. Secretary Tennant wrote letters to House Speaker Tim Miley, House Majority Leader Harry Keith White, and House Minority Leader Tim Armstead.
“Medical monitoring is the only way we can determine what, if any, effects exposure to this hazardous chemical will have on our people: our children, our parents and grandparents, and pregnant mothers,” Secretary Tennant wrote. “We must have medical monitoring. We cannot afford not to do this study.”
Secretary Tennant also said more than 1,300 people signed an online petition calling for more public information about MCHM and accountability for those responsible.
“One signer of our online petition reminded us that we are accountable for our children’s health and future. Those words are true, and ring out loudly on this issue,” Secretary Tennant said.
In addition for calling for medical monitoring Secretary Tennant has been vocally in favor of House Bill 4175, the West Virginia Small Business Emergency Act, which would allow for the promulgation of emergency rules to provide relief to businesses affected by the water crisis. Secretary Tennant also testified before a subcommittee of the United States Senate Environment and Public Works Committee about the impact the chemical leak has had on small businesses and families.