Saturday, January 11, 2014

Our Notes on the West Virginia Chemical Spill

We had to come back for the West Virginia Chemical Spill which is said to have began on January 9, 2014.  "Hard facts" have been hard to come by.  Is the chemical "raw" (as one source reported) or is it a blend?  We ask the question as the alleged company involved (Freedom Industries) uses at least one known affiliate for blending - Poca Blending.  The web server (at this posting time) for Freedom Ind. is offline.  Checked the Freedom Industries website today Jan. 14, 2014: West Virginia Chemical Spill: Freedom Industries site online:


Source: All of the internet.

It has taken days to get these notes together.  So this posting is going to look messier than usual.  Apologies.
The Notes:

From 1_10_2014

Confirmed @NotOnTwtr The spill originated from Freedom Industries according to West Virginia American Water.

West Virginia Public Media reported that too But good to get confirmation!

According to this link Freedom Industries did not report spill for 10 hours: W Virginia Public Media.

Here's the MSDS sheet for 4-Methylcyclohexane Methanol, the chemical involved in @wvamwater contamination:


The MCHM could be a blend with almost anything in it. Freedom Ind. lists Poca Blending affiliate:


1% methanol in the Eastman MCHM msds. Not sure of the stuff from Freedom Industries.

MCHM has a German CAS file: CAS # 34885-03-5. Other things blended in? But is free methanol in it?


MSDS on the Chemical spilled in W. Va: "Strong irritant". The methanol part is likely the worst.

100K West Virginians cannot use tap H2O due to chemical spill. Via Newsy. 4-Methylcyclohexane Methanol.

Chemical spill in West Virginia leads to tap water ban for 300,000 people | via @Telegraph

Updated 1_11_2014

"Update" 4 Hospitalized, Dozens Seek Treatment After West Virginia Chemical Spill  via @TIME

West Virginia chemical spill is in the Wikipedia: 

MCHM in the Wikipedia now:  4-methylcyclohexanemethanol. May or may not be fully accurate.

Freedom Ind. personnel may have had some previous controversies: 

Freedom Ind. personnel may have had some previous controversies: 

Via @Wikipedia Elk River is the only known habitat of the diamond darter (fish): …

Mayor of Charleston, W.Va., says water emergency is devastating his community - via

 via @SeattlePI

FEMA page on W. Va. Chemical Spill (EM 3366)

Public Health Emergency Page from DH+HS FOR WEST VIRGINIA

President Obama Signs West Virginia Emergency Declaration | The White House:

 @whitehouse (Released 1/10.)

West Virginia Dept. of Environmental Protection URL:

Ooh! The @USGS H20 Water Quality Assessment of West Virginia:

Service adds West Virginia fish to endangered species list:

Page by .Page by . - Service adds West Virginia fish to endangered species list. July 25, 2013


 Should the diamond darter be a symbol of the spill?


Credit/Source: US Govt. Work; Public Domain; Fish and Wildlife Service.


Freedom Industries web server is down? 8D

Description: Embedded image permalinkPost on Google+:

Officials silent on water timetable  - News - The Charleston Gazette - West Virginia News and Sports -

Bottled water for West Virginia residents plagued by chemical in - South Texas, Corpus Christi, Coastal Bend

FAKE BREAK NEWS Elk River nicknamed "Sh*t Creek". Gov. Christie of NJ seen paddling up it...

Update 1_14_2014

Tweets (posted by Kenwardjr and HuffPostPol) on the WV Chemical Spill seems to show that the WV and US Govt don't give a...

1.       Kenwardjr 12 Jan

Three years ago this month, @chemsafetyboard urged WV to help Kanawha County set up chemical accident prevention program. State said no.


1.       HuffPostPol 5m

John Boehner on West Virginia chemical spill: "We have enough regulations"


@NotOnTwtr The area where the spill happened is known as 'Chemical Valley', West Virginia. Source: …


CNN-4 hours ago

That was the setup in West Virginia last week when a chemical spill contaminated a river supplying water to hundreds of thousands of people.

3.    NPR-3 hours ago

Department of Defense ‎- 1 day ago

Hundreds of thousands of people in nine West Virginia counties are unable to use their tap water as a precaution following a chemical spill.

23 hours ago - ... last week's toxic chemical spill in West Virginia. Although Freedom Industries was storing thousands of gallons of a potentially toxic chemical ...

19 hours ago - chemical spill, West Virginia, drinking water, Elk River, Ohio River.

o    Cached

Washington DC, January 11, 2014 – An investigative team from the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) is deploying to the scene of a massive spill into the Elk ...



Stephen Colbert’s take on: Water Crisis in West Virginia

 via @ColbertReport

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Congress and the Executive Branch no longer required to file financial disclosures

President Obama signs the Original STOCK Act written by Louise Slaughter.
Mr. Obama talks about the values of 'fairness' and 'hard work' before signing the Original STOCK Act.  The original Act has since been modified under S.716.
Credit: US Govt. Work; Public Domain;
Yes, it's a law.  Apparently under S.716 (a modification of the STOCK Act) the Congress of the United States of America and the Executive Branch are free from those annoying financial disclosures regarding non-public trading information.
The Modified Stock Act (S.716). Credit: US Govt. Work; Public Domain;

The Original Stock Act (Public Law 112-105).  Credit: US Govt. Work; Public Domain;

If one visits the White House List of Signed Legislation it appears at the top and is dated April 15, 2013.  However, we first became aware of the legislation via a Tech Dirt post on The Hacker News this week.  But that post and the FireDogLake post don't seem to include these links on their sites - even though they made these "great catches".  But (in an earlier post) FDL did catch the letter to  the Honorable Harry Reid and the Honorable Mitch McConnell re. the STOCK act.

In that letter the SEA (Senior Executives Association) complained that the "old" STOCK Act was a violation of The Privacy Act and "burdensome" regulation.  But didn't the President's promise on transparency mean that the public should know about such unlimited and inside financial transactions by our lawmakers and executives?  And what about the "burdensome" complaint?  For a Congress that works only 126 days to 109 days per year - it can't present such a burden - especially when our Federal employees stand to gain untold millions of dollars due to their positions.  You would likely be fired from your private position/job if you were to gain such gross amounts for such transactions - and likely jailed for corruption.

But back to the SEA - posted on their landing mission statement is the following "The Senior Executives Association is a nonprofit professional association that promotes ethical and dynamic public service...".  Yet, the request for modification of the STOCK Act does not seem ethical in that it does not present the transparency in the needed promise to get the current Administration elected into office.

The (offending) section of S.716 is Section 1 which includes, but is not limited to: "





(1) IN GENERAL.—Except with respect to financial disclosure

forms filed by officers and employees referred to in paragraph

(2), section 8(a) and section 11(a) of the STOCK Act (5 U.S.C.

App. 105 note) shall not be effective.


employees referred to in paragraph (1) are the following:

(A) The President.

(B) The Vice President.

(C) Any Member of Congress.

(D) Any candidate for Congress.

(E) Any officer occupying a position listed in section

5312 or section 5313 of title 5, United States Code, having

been nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate..."

Link here to the Original STOCK Act (112-105 linked above also) to see that Sec. 8a and Sec. 11a do exclude members of Congress and members of the Executive Branch from reporting on those "burdensome" financial disclosures.


Thursday, February 7, 2013

Imminent Threat

Imminent threat

The current buzzword going around in politics and the media regarding the US Administration Use of Lethal Drone Force Legal Review (imprimatur: NBC News).

Apparently none of the sources cited in our posting "Are Drone Strikes a Form of Extrajudicial Killing?" searched their legal dictionaries or other sources for that phrase. 

Our blog did that and found possibly two applicable definitions.

The first one comes to us from The Law Dictionary - Imminent Danger

The other comes from The Free Dictionary - Imminent Threat (via public international law).

Regarding the first definition - you can guess that it concerns incidences 'where a person or persons may be called upon to defend themselves against homicide without protection from the law or other persons'.  The intended victim must be "reasonable" and "prudent".  A few court decisions are cited with the brief description.

It, of course, mentions nothing about drone strikes and persons perceived to be terrorists.  Innocent collateral victims of drone strikes are not mentioned - even though politicos have been seen defending said drone strike practice and policy.  For more on that perspective please see the report by Micah Zenko, Council on Foreign Relations.  (For just the summary and recommendations go to pp. 22+.)

The implication is that the US Policy requires some oversight by Congress - perhaps even transparency.  Also, there could be consequences with our foreign counterparts if the policy does not conform to expectations.

The second definition (Imminent Threat) is defined as a criterion - which makes it, too, somewhat vague as the pundits have been complaining.  Criteria like this can make for irreversible consequences and innocent collateral casualties and fatalities.

And some folks don't have a problem with that - and that makes the rest of us weep.

Thursday, January 17, 2013


Nightmareliner -

(Updated 1_20_2013 see below.  And again 1_30_2013.)

The VERY unfortunate and unfunny conflation of "Dreamliner" with nightmare/s or nightmarish events seen with the Dreamliner (Boeing's 787 airliner).

We'll go to the latest press release from the NTSB: "Second Investigative Update of Boston Boeing 787 Battery Fire". Yes, you read that right, 'battery fire'. Seems that the Lithium-ion batteries for the jets are catching fire (for "unknown reasons") with leaks of the lithium electrolyte fluid a possibility? An electrolyte leak could make fire spread and fire conditions even worse - fortunately one of the incidents required only "just about one half hour of extinguishing by the emergency staff".


The NTSB release almost occurred simultaneously with the FAA Dreamliner grounding announcement.

Credit: NTSB, US Government Work, Public Domain


As you can see posted above, the NTSB posted photos of burned 787 batteries with its PR.  Well, shouldn't they have fire-tested those batteries before? Well, yes and no, we found a PowerPoint presentation from the FAA regarding the fire testing of smaller commercial lithium ion batteries - but nothing yet on the full-scale commercial airline format. At least nothing related to the full-scale battery was found in our search.

Presumably, GS Yuasa was awarded the contract to supply the full-scale 787 aviation batteries. Link to the (presumed) spec sheet here. The spec sheet (as of this writing) states that the battery has a "Prismatic Shape" - which doesn't appear to resemble the photo/s supplied by the NTSB. What shape exactly is the battery form supposed to be?


If we read further down the spec sheet (under "Safety and Handling") we see that the "cell design details and specification are subject to change without notice." We sincerely hope that that verbiage wasn't approved in the *original contract.


The "Safety and Handling" section goes on to read: "Inappropriate handling or application...can result...even in the result of smoke generation or fire".


Yes, that is a known safety/hazard factor in Lithium ion batteries! See the link to the above PDF. Also, see the reports from the Consumer Product Safety Commission dating back to 2006. Of course, the GSY contract award for the specified batteries pre-dates those 2006 incidents.



Credit: Federal Register, U. S. Government Work, Public Domain

Further safety and hazard precautions are found for Lithium ion batteries in what appears to be a sample military grade battery Material Safety Data Sheet. Please note: the manufacturer of the battery for our sample MSDS is not involved or implicated in the current Dreamliner battery fires!


And the Wikimedia Foundation has an Ebook available on Google Books - and it also contains similar recommendations and precautions.


The element Lithium, itself, is rated as non-flammable but has some other safety issues on its own. The problems appear to arise in the Lithium battery - and its electrolyte (when leaked) - in certain applications like the Nightmareliner. Er, sorry, we mean the "Dreamliner". To be fair in the end, Boeing has also posted their own PR statement on the incidents (FAA 787 Action).

Update 1_20_2013 The FAA #designated Boeing to generate LiIon battery data #Nightmareliner Via @WSJ  Most of the video report given by Andy Pasztor LA WSJ Sr. Correspondent.

Update 1_30_2013 Boeing's Batteries Draw Criticism as Dreamliner Probe Continues | Autopia |
Update 2_05_2013

Boeing Asks FAA to Lift Grounding of Dreamliners for Test Flights Via CNBC

Update 2_10_2013

Expect Dreamliner delays, Boeing tells airlines via @reuters

Please note this posting appears in our sister blog:
Update 3_06_2013
Analytical theory may bring improvements to lithium-ion batteries
 via @physorg_com
How lithium electrochemical research might save the Boeing Dreamliner
via @examinercom