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."
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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.