Lawmakers admitted that the bill had "imperfect parts" and said they would ask that the process be slowed down to give time for the public's opinion.
"This should be a deliberate, slow study process. This doesn't need to be a knee-jerk reaction," Walters said. "I have a pregnant wife and a three-year-old daughter -- I'm not consuming the water. I'm not cooking with it. I'm worried about my unborn child. I can't get answers."
One woman questioned lawmakers about Chemical Safety Board recommendations made to state officials after prior incidents at the Bayer CropScience plant and the DuPont plant in Belle. In both those reports, the CSB recommended West Virginia establish a program to prevent hazardous chemical releases.
State officials did not heed either recommendation.
"I'd really like to see you all take that up," she told lawmakers. Her comment drew loud applause.
McCuskey, when pushed by a woman about a blog post he wrote about "unreasonable regulations," said he didn't mean "regulations that ensure people and businesses have clean water."
"So you're not talking about the EPA overreaching?" the woman asked.
"There are instances when they do," McCuskey answered, drawing loud questions demanding he give an example.
"I think it's significantly harder to operate coal mines," he said, quickly adding that's not what Monday's meeting was about.
"There's no war on coal, there's a war on us," a man shouted.
Nelson asked residents to stay positive.
"We don't want this one incident to shut us down," he said.
Holding back tears, one woman said she just wanted to know "is our water ever really going to be safe or not?"
Reach Kate White at kate.wh...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1723.