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House Leaders, Tennant Seek Relief For Small Businesses During Crisis

Reported: Jan. 12, 2014 12:13 AM EST
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Kera Mashek, Heath Harrison) -- The water crisis impacting 300,000 people is already producing a rash of civil lawsuits against Freedom Industries and the West Virginia American Water Company.

Some of the suits over the spill were filed before 8 a.m. Friday, and the legal actions will likely end up before the state's mass litigation panel.

Most involve lost business and wages from the lack of safe water.

Leaders in the West Virginia House of Delegates are proposing a relief fund to help small businesses during emergencies like the current water crisis.

Majority Leader Harry Keith White, D-Mingo, said House leaders plan to draft legislation that would provide limited, zero-interest loans to small businesses in areas where a state of emergency is declared.

House Speaker Tim Miley, D-Harrison, said the state can't risk losing any small businesses because of an emergency, insisting small businesses are the backbone of the state.

West Virginia Seceraty of State Natalie Tennant stop by our station Saturday and said she's wanting answers..

"Get to the bottom of this,” she said. “Get those answers that are needed. We've been trying to ask questions and haven’t had the best transparency. Then take care of our businesses and give them the aid they might need after weathering these days without being in business. Whether it’s a small business emergency fund or loans, we have to be able to keep our businesses going."

Lawmakers plan to meet this week to discuss the measure.



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