- Associated Press - Friday, January 17, 2014

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - After chemicals oozed into West Virginia’s biggest water system, state and federal officials are demanding investigations and tighter laws to safeguard against future spills.

West Virginia state officials want an inventory of all chemical storage sites in the state.

There’s also demand for forcing facilities to stay away from the banks of water bodies, particularly ones providing drinking water.

And lawmakers want facilities like those run by Freedom Industries, which was responsible for the spill in Charleston, to be subjected to environmental inspections.

The state House has cleared a bill with grants, loans and tax relief for small businesses hurt by a days-long water-use ban. Delegates could also consider an income tax break for the affected nine-county region’s taxpayers.

At the federal level, U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller’s bill would force companies to pay for cleaning spills, even if chemicals aren’t labeled hazardous.

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