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CALPIRG Education Fund
Sacramento Bee
Garo Manjikian

The chemical facility in West Virginia leaked toxic chemicals into the Elk River, putting hundreds of thousands of people in danger. It is an uncomfortable truth that Californians are also extremely vulnerable to these types of accidents. We have 57 of these high-risk facilities which pose health risks to at least 100,000 citizens who reside near each facility. While some companies have begun to make the switch to safer methods of shipping and storing chemicals, I don’t believe these common-sense solutions should be a matter of choice. Voluntary standards merely acknowledge a risk without requiring that anything be done about it. President Barack Obama has directed a federal working group to consider new safety regulations at chemical facilities. We need to push for mandatory protections to ensure these types of accidents don’t happen again.
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