Newscasts

PNS Daily Newscast - July 20, 2018.  


Trump now wants Putin to visit the White House this fall; Also on the Friday rundown: health insurance rates to rise by almost 9 percent in California; and as the climate crises reaches “Zero Hour” young people take a stand.

Daily Newscasts

One in Eight WV Kids Attend Schools Near Chemical Facilities

PHOTO: Do your children go to school near a potentially dangerous chemical facility? The Center for Effective Government's new report finds there is a one-in-10 chance they do. Photo credit: Hilton Kelly, for the Center for Effective Government.
PHOTO: Do your children go to school near a potentially dangerous chemical facility? The Center for Effective Government's new report finds there is a one-in-10 chance they do. Photo credit: Hilton Kelly, for the Center for Effective Government.
May 19, 2014

CHARLESTON, W. Va. – Four months after the Freedom Industries spill, a new analysis finds about 38,000 West Virginia children - or one in eight - spend their weekdays at schools in the shadows of potentially dangerous chemical facilities, according to new analysis. Nationally, the estimate is 4.6 million children.

Maya Nye, president of the group People Concerned About Chemical Safety, worked on the figures. She says the Freedom chemical spill scared a lot of folks - but even more frightening was a 2008 explosion at a plant in Institute, W. Va.

Nye says a congressional report found that accident came close to releasing poisons that would have killed thousands.

"My junior high school and the elementary school that's right beside it, are less than half a mile from where that particular incident happened," says Nye. "All of the schools that I attended were within one mile of a high-risk facility."

Her group recommends stronger disclosure rules and greater oversight of these facilities, as well as better emergency response plans.

The national analysis was done at the Center for Effective Government, where Director of Open Government Sean Moulton says parents and community members need to better understand the risks these sites pose, and to push for changes.

"Students do fire drills every day," he notes. "But I don't think many of these schools have ever really talked about what their plan would be if one of these facilities had a major accident while school was in session."

Many water treatment plants have switched from using chlorine gas, which would create a poisonous cloud if a spill occurred, to a much safer form of liquid chlorine.

Moulton says one of the most important things the federal government can do to protect children and communities is to require that facilities use safer chemicals and processes, whenever feasible.

"They have a responsibility to the communities that they operate within - to protect them, to protect their workers - and we think that the government should step in."

An interactive map showing vulnerable schools is on the Center for Effective Government's website.

Dan Heyman, Public News Service - WV