Congress Votes Against Corporate Responsibility Hours Before the Charleston Spill


NRDC’s Legislative Director Scott Slesinger blogs:

January 17, 2014

About four hours before the disaster declaration in Charleston, WV, the House voted to make it easier for companies handling hazardous materials to NOT carry insurance in case of accidents. The vote on the bill, H.R. 2279, was 225-188.

In my blog before the vote on the bill, I wrote:

” To protect the taxpayers, the law requires EPA to make sure those industries with risky profiles have insurance to cover such threats. In many cases, companies have found ways to go bankrupt to avoid the cost of cleanup and to leave the burden to taxpayers.”

Just two weeks later on January 17, 2014, Freedom Industries, the company responsible for the water diaster, declared bankruptcy. In a country where student loans are not dischargeable in bankruptcy, why should the House vote, including some members of the West Virginia delegation, to let companies off the hook and not carry insurance when they deal with dangerous materials?

I would like to hear members explain this one.