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W.Va. company that poisoned water with chemicals gets $4M deal to stay open

- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The West Virginia company at the heart of a chemical spill that left 300,000 of residents without water for days — and an unsure future for the health of their families — has won a $4 million bankruptcy deal with a lender that will help it continue operations.

The terms of the arrangement allow that Freedom Industries' 51 employees will continue to get paid and so will vendors. But the company will start concerted clean-up efforts at the site of the Elk River spill, said Freedom Industries attorney Mark Freelander, to The Associated Press.

Freedom Industries President Gary Southern testified in bankruptcy court that the Jan. 9 chemical spill has left his company and the community "completely chaotic," AP said. He also said his company's already spent $800,000 to fix environmental damages in the past week.

The chemical company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protections — a move that immediately halted dozens of lawsuits that were filed by businesses and residents. Meanwhile, state and federal investigators are still trying to determine what led to the spill of the coal-cleaning chemical into the water.

The company's biweekly payroll amounts to about $172,000, AP reported.

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