Letters: Jan. 23, 2014; disaster plans, Elk River history, corporate accountability
It's better to always be prepared
I am a small business owner in the Upper Kanawha Valley. I spent the better part of Jan. 10 driving around in search of water and disposable paper products for the people I serve at my small assisted living home.
I was reminded of several years ago, following Hurricane Katrina that hit the Gulf Coast. I recall Bill White, then Director of Kanawha County Emergency Services, advising me that I should be prepared, in the event of such an emergency, to be "on my own" for three days.
He explained that first responders would at first be needed to deal with infrastructures and larger facilities, such as hospitals. That advice has served me well in initially facing this man-made emergency. The uncertainty of knowing how long we might be without potable water is indeed disturbing. How much longer beyond three days would the residents of the affected counties be on "our own"? As I drove around on my mission, I was thankful that I had the resources to "fill in the gaps" for tap-water and products I can normally clean with that same water.
I am more concerned about those folks who can't afford to buy these items, let alone afford the gas to go in search of such products. Freedom Industries should be getting the water, paper products, disposable silverware and apologies out to every neighborhood they have impacted. I see that class action lawsuits are already being filed, but that doesn't help the ordinary person on the street in search of safe drinking water. Shame on you, Freedom Industries!
Elk River chemical site has long history
This morning's paper referred to the Etowah tank farm, and I knew where the Freedom Industries tanks are located because I labored there in the summer of 1942 when I was 11 years old. In the 1930s, my father was a CPA out of Pittsburgh who was hired to come to Charleston to work for Elk Refining Co. Elk sold Keystone gasoline and Pennsylvania grade motor oils. The Etowah tank farm belonged to them.
The Elk refinery was in Falling Rock, near Clendenin, and gasoline and petroleum products were brought down the river by barge to the Etowah bulk plant. It was a half-mile upstream from Charleston city limits, below what is now Yeager Airport. In 1942, the company gave my father permission to plant a large Victory Garden on unused land between their tanks and an unimproved access road. The push for patriotic gardens was big during World War II, and I was a young gardener.
Frederick Bannerot was head of Elk Refining then. "Fritz" was a Yale golf champion so he had links with the Gazette's late Ned Chilton. In the mid-1960s, when Fritz was ready to retire, the company was sold and merged in various transactions until the property was acquired by Freedom. Thus Etowah is an elderly facility previously owned by Pennzoil.
Accountability should not be eliminated
Editor:No deals for Corporate America that 'eliminates' any accountability for their actions, while eliminating any debate on the Trans Pacific Partnership. Fast tracking is set up for a reason? To eliminate the rules of debate and secrecy.