January 21, 2014
The West Virginia House of Delegates last week showed the difference between government “inaction” and a responsive government “in action.”
The House on Thursday suspended rules to rush through legislation that would provide financial assistance to small businesses affected by the chemical leak that tainted the water supply for 300,000 people in a nine-county area.
House Bill 4175, the West Virginia Small Business Emergency Act, passed the House unanimously. The bill was rushed through committee in response to the crisis, which caused many businesses to close for several days.
“I have had people say to me quite specifically that, without any assistance, they will not be able to reopen their business,” said House Minority Leader Tim Armstead, R-Kanawha. “That is a concern.”
If passed by the Senate, the bill would allow the governor to meet with heads of the Division of Homeland Security, Department of Commerce and Department of Revenue to issue emergency rules that guide the assistance given to small businesses during a state of emergency.
It’s a good move by the House to help the small businesses most affected recover and get back to what they do best — employing local residents who earn an income and contribute to the economy.
The House is not alone in working to bring a quick recovery to the economic loss caused by Freedom Industries’ leak of 7,500 gallons of 4-methylcyclohexane methanol that contaminated the water supply.
Business and entertainment groups are taking it upon themselves. Over the weekend, the East End Main Street organization kicked off a “reHYDRATE” campaign, aiming to bring more customers to local businesses affected.
Mountain Stage organizers did their part, offering free admission to last night’s show.
Government being responsive, businesses boosting themselves, volunteers distributing water, organization’s responding to help: while no one wanted the spill and the resulting loss of clean water for 300,000 people, it’s inspiring to see the positive response of so many.
— Charleston Daily Mail (Charleston, W.Va.)