ENVIRONMENT

Freedom Industries, Company Behind West Virginia Chemical Spill, Files For Bankruptcy

CHARLESTON, WV JANUARY 11, 2014:
Workers walk behind the fence at the Freedom Industries building in CharlestonCharleston, W
CHARLESTON, WV JANUARY 11, 2014: Workers walk behind the fence at the Freedom Industries building in CharlestonCharleston, West Virginia on Saturday, January 11, 2014. Around 5000 gallons of a chemical, used in the coal cleaning process, leaked into the Elk River from the West Virginia American Company and has stopped the usage of tap water for 300,000 West Virginia residents in nine different counties. Ty Wright for the Washington Post

The company behind the massive chemical spill that made tap water unsafe for more than 300,000 West Virginians has filed for bankruptcy, according to documents obtained by The Huffington Post.

According to bankruptcy filings, Freedom Industries, wholly owned by Chemstream Holdings Inc., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Friday. Freedom Industries owns the storage facility responsible for leaking up to 7,500 gallons of 4-methylcyclohexane methanol (a coal-cleaning chemical also known as crude MCHM) into West Virginia's Elk River.

Hundreds of thousands of people in nine counties were given orders not to use water for bathing or drinking for days as the company scrambled to clean up, exposing disturbing vulnerabilities in the water supply and a lack of data about hazardous chemicals and where they're stored. A second site owned by the company was also cited for safety violations shortly after the spill.

A representative for Freedom Industries told HuffPost that the company would not be commenting on the bankruptcy.

Despite the filings, the U.S. attorney's office in West Virginia told HuffPost that the new development would not have any effect on its ongoing investigation into the leak. Freedom Industries currently owes $3.66 million to its top 20 creditors, including more than $2.4 million in unpaid taxes to the IRS.

(h/t the Charleston Gazette)

HuffPost

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