WCHS Eyewitness News Home Charleston Eyewitness Newsroom Charleston Storm Team Weather Sports News TV Program Schedule Community Mobile: Smartphone,Tablet and SMS text Get Connected SMS Text Facebook Twitter See-It,Shoot-It RSS News Feed Email List Tumblr


Erin Brockovich Investigates WV Water Crisis, Holds Town Hall

Reported: Jan. 13, 2014 10:47 PM EST
Updated: Jan. 14, 2014 12:45 AM EST
EYEWITNESS NEWS ONLINE WEBCAST VIDEO

News Image

Charleston, W.Va. (Kera Mashek) A well known activist is in Charleston, a woman who is very familiar with dealing with what the region is going through: contaminated water.

If you're not familiar with Erin Brockovich, she's a legal researcher and environmental activist. She's been instrumental in several major lawsuits, most notably a 1993 case against Pacific Gas and Electric Company, which involved a chemical contamination of a California water supply and resulted in one of the largest settlements in US history: $330 million. That case went on to become the subject of an Oscar-winning film named for Brockovich, starring Julia Roberts.

Brockovich said what's happened in the Mountain State is deeply concerning and she hopes it is a national wake-up call.

"I hope, here in West Virginia, that it's an eye-opener for the entire nation that this could happen," she said. "Our water and our waterways could be poisoned in several different ways and, when it is, it is a disaster - especially when it starts affecting municipalities and hundreds of thousands of people."

And with the famed environmentalist using her star power to draw attention to what's happened in West Virginia, the alarm bells could ring louder. It's the kind of wake-up call Alice Frame has been hoping for, after being affected by both this week's water crisis, as well as something even more deeply personal.

"Does it frustrate you, make you mad even, that this happened in the first place and a chemical was able to get into the water supply?" Eyewitness News asked.

"Yes, it does," Frame said. "Because until you live the life and walk the walk, especially with somebody being exposed to contamination. And we survived, but you have no idea and it does make you made."

Frame's husband James left the Mountain State in the 1980s to work at a South Carolina nuclear power plant, and it ended up having deadly consequences.

"He died of induced radiated cancer, due to being exposed to toxic waste, and it is a heart-breaking, heartfelt emotion to go through," Frame said.

She blames a lack of state and federal regulation on toxic materials, and it's something she feels is still a huge problem: a lack of oversight which could have contributed to last week's chemical spill and resulting water crisis.

So, for 15 years, she's been hoping to get the attention of Erin Brockovich, to push for stricter rules on inspecting all facilities with toxic chemicals.

Brockovich agreed more regulations are needed for the chemical industry, and she insists criminal charges should be filed to hold Freedom Industries responsible for what happened.

"This is a company with lack of safety, who's completely negligent, damaged the environmental, jeopardized public health and safety, harmed people and jeopardized businesses, I think that's criminal," Brockovich said.

Those gathered for her town hall Monday night just hope Brockovich will help get results to make sure a spill and water crisis like this never happens again.

"It frustrates me, just like it does all of you." Brockovich said. "I don't think it's a picture we pay enough attention to. All of us are screwed without water. I think this community's showing us what happens when you don't have water, and it's frightening."

Brockovich insists she's not being paid a dime to be here in West Virginia, and only came here because of the community's concern through more than a half-million requests for her to investigate what's happened. But she isn't ruling out the possibility of getting involved in some of the lawsuits here and legislative efforts to prevent another spill.

You can also see Eyewitness News anchor Kera Mashek’s full interview with Brokovich here.



MORE NEWS FROM EYEWITNESS NEWS
Fourth Avenue Re-Opens Following Huntington Fire; 9th Street Plaza To Remain Closed
News
Jul. 27, 2014 6:14 PM EDT
Crews battled a massive fire Sunday at the Morris building ...
Full News Story and Video

Fundraiser To Aid Teen Recovering From Brain Cancer
News
Jul. 27, 2014 11:55 PM EDT
A fundraiser is planned to help pay for medical expenses ...
Full News Story

Tornado Watch Issued For WV Counties Until 3 a.m.
News
Jul. 27, 2014 9:47 PM EDT
9:28 p.m. Sunday
With storm activity picking ...
Full News Story


News Putnam Sheriff Seeks Home Confinement Escapee
Jul. 27, 2014 10:14 PM EDT
News U.S. House Candidates Secure Prominent Endorsements
Jul. 27, 2014 11:07 PM EDT
News One Dead, Two Injured In Pike County Shooting
Jul. 27, 2014 7:07 PM EDT
News Emergency Officials Offer Advice On What To Do In Case Of Tornado
Jul. 27, 2014 6:45 PM EDT
News Clay Center Hosts Family Fun Day
Jul. 27, 2014 5:58 PM EDT
News On-Site School Review For Grading System To Debut
Jul. 27, 2014 4:58 PM EDT
News Art Project To Aid Huntington Children's Hospital
Jul. 27, 2014 4:57 PM EDT
News Both Directions Of I-77 Tunnel Near Bluefield Reopen After Fire
Jul. 27, 2014 4:54 PM EDT
News Fans Welcome Saints To The Greenbrier
Jul. 26, 2014 11:36 PM EDT
News Discovery Channel Storm Chaser Headed To WV
Jul. 26, 2014 11:29 PM EDT
News Police Shoot Man During Alleged Altercation At Huntington Restaurant
Jul. 26, 2014 6:59 PM EDT
News Huntington Hosts Hot Dog Festival
Jul. 26, 2014 11:37 PM EDT
News Artists Spruce Up Capitol Market
Jul. 26, 2014 11:37 PM EDT
News Old Crow Medicine Show Plays Power park
Jul. 26, 2014 11:49 PM EDT
News Police Searching For Missing Logan County Woman
Jul. 26, 2014 9:41 PM EDT
News Boil Water Advisory Issued For Montgomery Area Customers
Jul. 26, 2014 9:16 PM EDT
News Traffic Returning To Normal On I-77 Near WV-Va. Border
Jul. 26, 2014 7:07 PM EDT
News Kayakers Celebrate Coal River Clean-Up
Jul. 26, 2014 7:09 PM EDT
News Police Believe Body Of Missing Roane County Man Has Been Found
Jul. 26, 2014 7:10 PM EDT
News Twists Endure In Federal Response To Freedom Industries Spill
Jul. 26, 2014 7:11 PM EDT
News Two WV Firefighters Treated After Tunnel Blaze
Jul. 26, 2014 7:32 PM EDT
News Accident On I-64 Causes Major Traffic Problems
Jul. 26, 2014 7:20 PM EDT
News Police Searching For Jail Escapee Who Walked Away From Work Detail
Jul. 26, 2014 7:12 PM EDT
News Dispatchers Say Huntington Police Officer Recovering After Motorcycle Accident
Jul. 26, 2014 7:13 PM EDT
News Ohio Pool Hall Owner Arrested On Felonious Assault Charges
Jul. 25, 2014 11:45 PM EDT
News WV State Holds Active Shooter Drill
Jul. 25, 2014 10:57 PM EDT
News Officials React To Plants Statement
Jul. 25, 2014 9:46 PM EDT
News Man Sentenced To 8 Years For Huntington Shooting
Jul. 25, 2014 9:31 PM EDT
News Man Will Not Face Charges For Allegedly Plotting To Kill Detective
Jul. 25, 2014 9:32 PM EDT
News Charleston Fire Under Investigation
Jul. 25, 2014 7:04 PM EDT


Advertise on WCHS-TV Online

West Virginia News
Official: Storms destroy E. Tenn homes, no deaths

Authorities say powerful storms crossing east Tennessee have destroyed 10 homes and damaged others, though there are no immediate reports of any deaths or injuries.
Full Story

Kentucky News
Official: Storms destroy E. Tenn homes, no deaths

Authorities say powerful storms crossing east Tennessee have destroyed 10 homes and damaged others, though there are no immediate reports of any deaths or injuries.
Full Story

Ohio News
Ohio man's body found in southeast Michigan lake

Southeastern Michigan authorities say that a 34-year-old Toledo, Ohio-area man apparently drowned after falling from a personal watercraft on a private lake.
Full Story







Fugitive Files Tuesdays at 6 PM on Eyewitness News

West Virginia Wildlife Wednesdays at 6 PM on Eyewitness News

ABC News web site







Send Mail Send email to news@wchstv.com for information or comments concerning WCHS-TV Eyewitness News.
Copyright ©2014, WCHS-TV8. Portions are Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or distributed.

WCHS ABC 8 provides local news, weather forecasts, traffic updates, notices of events and items of interest in the community, sports and entertainment programming for Charleston and nearby towns and communities in the Tri-State area, including Huntington, Dunbar, Marmet, Montgomery, Nitro, South Charleston, St. Albans, Cedar Grove, Chesapeake, Clendenin, East Bank, Glasgow, Pratt, Cross Lanes, Elkview, Pinch, Sissonville, Big Chimney, Cabin Creek, Chelyan, Davis Creek, Institute, Jefferson, Loudendale, Mink Shoals, Pocatalico, Quick, Quincy, Rand, Buffalo, Eleanor, Hurricane, Nitro, Poca, Winfield, Culloden, Fraziers Bottom, Hometown, Red House, Scott Depot, Teays Valley, Danville, Madison, Hamlin, Logan, Chapmanville, Man, Delbarton, Kermit, Gilbert, Matewan, Williamson, Summersville, Richwood, Flatwoods, Gassaway, Sutton, Spencer, Ravenswood, Ripley, Mason, Point Pleasant, Ashland, Pikeville, Ironton, Portsmouth, Gallipolis, and Athens.