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Week After West Virginia Chemical Spill, Company Files for Bankruptcy

Andrea Germanos, staff writer

(Photo: EJP Photo/cc/flickr)

Freedom Industries, the company behind the chemical leak last week in West Virginia's Elk River, filed for bankruptcy on Friday, the Charleston Gazette reports

Roughly 7,500 gallons of the coal-cleaning chemical 4-methylcyclohexane methanol (or MCHM), leaked from a hole in a storage tank into the river, polluting the water supply of 300,000 West Virginians, exposing the lack of a response plan in case of a spill, lack of regulations, fallibility of  safety claims and potentially significant health risks

The Gazette reports that the company owes over $2.4 million in unpaid taxes to the IRS dating back to at least 2000, and "owes $3.66 million to its top 20 unsecured creditors."

Bloomberg notes that "Companies facing legal costs and damages following accidents may use U.S. bankruptcy law to protect assets," while the Gazette adds filing Chapter 11 allows a company to "reorganize and continue operating"

Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway (MM&A), the railway behind the deadly Lac-Mégantic derailment,  filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy weeks after the disaster, leaving many to wonder who would be held accountable.


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