Unger asks for more done in chemical spill by federal officials - WTRF 7 News Sports Weather - Wheeling Steubenville

Unger asks federal officials for more to be done about chemical spill, WV Senate passes 8 bills

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Senate Majority Leader John Unger, D-Berkeley, spoke in the West Virginia Senate Tuesday expressing his outrage with the federal response to the Jan. 9 chemical spill.

Unger said he was disappointed President Barack Obama did not address the issue in his State of the Union speech Jan. 28.

"Had this crisis happened anywhere else in the United States, I'm sure the CDC, FEMA, Army Corps of Engineers and every cabinet secretary would be playing a role in the clean-up and recovery," Unger said. "I have no doubt that the chemicals that were released would have been analyzed immediately."

Unger encouraged the adoption of Senate Concurrent Resolution 27, which urges the President and Congress to protect the nation's water and establish provisions that will prevent chemical spills from happening anywhere in the United States.

"If it can happen here, it can happen anywhere," he said. "We still have no idea how the chemicals break down and we have been given no guidance on the long-term impacts to our health."

The resolution calls for the Federal Emergency Management Agency to continue to provide water supplies in affected areas as well as directing the Centers for Disease Control, Agency for Toxic Substances and Diseases Registry and Environmental Protection Agency to assemble a team to fully analyze the released chemicals and to determine the effects to human health and the environment the chemicals have.

The Senate also passed eight bills Tuesday, including Senate Bill 257, which relates to a landowner's liability for trespassers. The bill would clarify landowners would not owe the same duties to trespassers as invited guests.

Senate Bill 408, which also passed the senate, would entitle inmates in the custody of the commission to a timely parole hearing without regard to location.

The measures the Senate passed will now be in front of the House of Delegates for debate.

The Senate also introduced seven bills including Senate Bill 479 which would provide vocational certification, licensure or college credit for military training experience. The bill was sent to the Senate Education committee.

House Bills 4177, having to do with supplemental appropriations, and 4182, also a supplemental appropriation bill, were read a second time second Tuesday and will be up for a vote Wednesday.