CPR President Rena Steinzor issued the following statement in response to today’s announcement that a grand jury had indicted owners and managers of Freedom Industries in connection with the massive leak of 4-methylcyclohexanemethanol (MHCM) that fouled the Elk River and triggered a drinking water ban for 300,000 residents earlier this year:
Booth Goodwin continues to distinguish himself as a tough prosecutor who is willing to use the law to punish and deter those who threaten public health. Because this harsh chemical was never tested, we know that public health was damaged but not exactly how people were harmed or, for that matter, how much harm was done. The spill destroyed the peace of mind of tens of thousands of people and put everyone on bottled water for weeks. For that, the defendants should pay, with jail time and fines.
Steinzor is a professor of law at the University of Maryland and the author of the recent book, Why Not Jail? Industrial Catastrophes, Corporate Malfeasance, and Government Inaction.