WASHINGTON, January 24, 2014– Tonight the outspoken, and all too often crass, host of “Real Time With Bill Maher” welcomes the environmental activist Erin Brockovich to his show.
Because Brockovich recently visited West Virginia, their discussion will most likely focus on the negligence that led to the recent contamination of the Elk River by Freedom Industries when 7500 gallons of the chemical 4-methylcyclohexane methanol leaked into the primary source of water for Charleston and nine counties. Government officials banned 300 thousand people from using water until further notice.
After almost a week without water, residents were finally informed that the Elk River was no longer contaminated. Officials went on to say that as long as people flushed out their systems, the water was completely safe to use. But since the “do not use” ban has been lifted, chemical-related admissions to West Virginia hospitals have doubled. Even more troubling is the recent revelation that at least one other unknown chemical was released along with the 4-methylcyclohexane methanol.
Since West Virginia Governor Tomblin received more than 600 thousand dollars in contributions from the energy industry and Senator Manchin received 81% of his total contributions from coal and energy interests, on can anticipate that they will continue to trivialize the devastating impact the spill has had on their constituents.
In the weeks to come, experts and agencies not under the control of West Virginia’s elected officials will come to Charleston to conduct their own investigations. Don’t be surprised if the outsiders discover additional environmental threats purposely hidden from the public.
Maybe even the political corruption that defines West Virginia politics will finally be identified as the main reason that industries have been allowed to destroy so much of the state’s environment.
Tonight when Maher and Brockovich exchange thoughts about the most recent environmental crisis in Appalachia, it will require a lot more than one hour to even begin to understand why the people of West Virginia continue to elect representatives for sale to the highest bidder.
“Real Time With Bill Maher” airs at 10 p.m. on HBO