Freedom's Southern invited to Charleston hearing, hasn't responded
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Rep. Shelley Moore Capito has invited Freedom Industries President Gary Southern to a congressional hearing in Charleston reviewing the Elk River chemical spill.
Of the eight people invited, Southern is the only one yet to confirm whether he will attend, according to a press release issued Thursday by the congresswoman's office.
Six of the eight are public officials representing local, state and federal government agencies.
"Monday's hearing will help ensure that answers about this spill are provided to the people of West Virginia," Capito, R-W.Va., said in the press release.
State officials learned the morning of Jan. 9 thousands of gallons of chemicals were leaking from a faulty storage tank owned by Freedom Industries. An unknown amount made it into the Elk River and a nearby West Virginia American Water Co. treatment plant, affecting the drinking water of 300,000 residents.
Shortly after the spill Capito and Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., announced the U.S House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee would meet in Charleston for the hearing.
County-level attendees include Gordon Merry, director of the Cabell County Office of Emergency Services, and Dale Petry, director of Kanawha County Homeland Security and Emergency Management.
State-level attendees are Jimmy Gianato, Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management director; Mike Dorsey of the state Department of Environmental Protection; and Dr. Letitia E. Tierney, state health officer and commissioner of the Bureau for Public Health.
At the federal level, Rafael Moure-Eraso, chairman of the U.S Chemical Safety Board, is slated to appear.
West Virginia American Water Co. President Jeff McIntyre is also on the agenda.
The hearing is scheduled to start 9 a.m. Monday at the Kanawha County Courthouse.