The West Virginia Chemical Leak and the Washington Mudslide: Politics, Regulations and Public Safety

The West Virginia Chemical Leak and the Washington Mudslide: Politics, Regulations and Public Safety

A chemical leak that tainted West Virginia’s water supply and a mudslide that killed dozens in Washington are raising new questions about the role of private industry and environmental regulations.

It’s been three months since a chemical spill into the Elk River tainted the water supply in West Virginia. Health officials have deemed the water safe but very few residents are drinking it. Last week, West Virginia’s governor signed a bill designed to prevent future spills, but critics say it doesn’t address the culture of state environmental agencies under political pressure to go easy on coal companies. And in Washington state, the death toll continues to rise from a mammoth landslide. Environmental advocates say extensive logging in the area may have been the cause. Diane and guests discuss new questions about the role of politics in environmental regulations and public safety.

Guests

Evan Osnos

staff writer, The New Yorker magazine

James Fallows

national correspondent for The Atlantic magazine.

Dr. Rahul Gupta

health officer and executive director, Kanawha-Charleston Health Department in West Virginia.

John Ryan

investigative reporter, KUOW in Seattle, Washington

Randall Jibson

research geologist, The United State Geological Survey (USGS)

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