New West Virginia firm facing environmental violations

January 28, 2015

A new chemical firm, Lexycon, run by former Freedom Industries employees — the company behind last year's West Virginia chemical spill — is facing environmental violations.

The Associated Press reports that Lexycon  has been cited eight times since September 2014 by state regulators for multiple offenses: pouring chemicals without a permit, lacking "last-resort" walls to contain spills  and hosting tankers full of unknown chemicals, among other infractions.

Inspectors even discovered the same chemical — 4-methylcyclohexanemethanol, also known as crude MCHM — that had leaked from Freedom Industries's site into the Charleston, West Virginia water supply, in spite of promises by the Lexycon president that the company would not be utilizing or storing MCHM at all.

State regulators from the West Virginia department of environmental protection have conducted three site-wide inspections and dozens of smaller visits since May of last year, but Lexycon has yet to address any of the violations.

Experts find the company's inaction, in light of their connection to Freedom Industries, concerning: "I've noticed that when something goes wrong, you sell the company, you change the name," said Maya Nye of People Concerned About Chemical Safety, an advocacy group in West Virginia. "Then suddenly, it looks like a shiny new package, but the way things operate is very similar. It's just kind of status quo."

The state has given Lexycon 20 days to respond to the five violations most recently issued. Fine amounts have not yet been determined. 

Freedom Industries massive Elk River spill brought Charleston, West Virginia to a standstill. Residents were banned from using the water and many businesses were forced to shut down. Regulators hope to prevent similar accidents from occurring in the future.

Environmental consultants can help firms work to comply with any and all government regulations regarding the operation of their facilities, to allow smooth functioning of the business.