News coverage of Day 1: Summit on Chemical Safety

Friday, January 23, 2015

Chemical safety advocates want accident prevention plan enacted

ByKen Ward Jr., Staff writer

Henry Clark remembers growing up in the shadow of the huge Chevron refinery in Richmond, California. Leaks, fires and all manner of incidents were a common part of life.

“The air would be so foul that I had to grab my nose and go back inside,” Clark recalled. “Explosions at the refinery would literally rock my house.”

In recent years, though, Clark has noticed improvements. Accidents at the facility had declined significantly. Clark credits creation in 1998 of the Contra Costa County Industrial Safety Ordinance.

“There are some good things going on — programs that you could adopt in West Virginia,” said Clark, an environmental justice activist and executive director of the local Toxics Coalition.

Clark spoke in Charleston on Friday as part of a two-day Summit on Chemical Safety in West Virginia, sponsored by the group People Concerned About Chemical Safety. The event continues Saturday at Ferguson Baptist Church, in Dunbar.

The event coincides with this week’s fifth anniversary of a string of leaks at the DuPont Co. plant in Belle, including a release of phosgene gas that killed longtime employee Danny Fish

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Chemical Safety Summit Being Held In Dunbar, Addressing Community Concerns

Updated: Friday, January 23, 2015 | Jarrod Clay

DUNBAR, W.Va. — Friday marked the start of a two-day summit on chemical safety that will explore solutions to prevent chemical disasters in West Virginia.

Especially those at highest risk like people living in lower income neighborhoods that are situated right next door to some of the Kanawha Valley’s biggest chemical plants.

On the fifth anniversary of the fatal incident at the DuPont facility in Belle, people concerned about chemical safety are hosing the summit.

The summit is part of a year-long project dedicated to exploring recommendations made by the Chemical Safety Board, and to developing a roadmap for preventing another chemical release in West Virginia.

The summit continues Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Ferguson Memorial Baptist Church on Marshall Avenue in Dunbar.

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