West Virginia company pleads guilty over coal chemical spill

U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia said March 23 that Freedom Industries pleaded guilty in federal court in Charleston to three environmental crimes in connection with the January 2014 Elk River chemical spill.

U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said that Freedom, which owned and operated the facility from which the coal-cleaning chemical MCHM spilled into the river, pleaded guilty to negligent discharge of a pollutant, the unlawful discharge of refuse, and violating a permit condition. Sentencing of the company is scheduled for June 29. The spill was upstream of Charleston and shut public water systems in downstream areas for several days.

The case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-Criminal Investigation Division.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.