Hearing scheduled for Freedom chemical spill cases ahead of sentencing

By Kyla Asbury | Jan 21, 2016

CHARLESTON – A federal judge scheduled a hearing leading up to several criminal sentencings surrounding the 2014 Freedom Industries chemical spill that left thousands without water for days. District Judge Thomas Johnston scheduled the hearing for Jan. 27 regarding the Freedom Industries cases. Johnston wrote that the hearing will discuss the factual and legal basis for all pleased offenses in the cases. Sentencings are scheduled in February for former Freedom officials Gary Southern, Dennis


CHARLESTON – A federal judge scheduled a hearing leading up to several criminal sentencings surrounding the 2014 Freedom Industries chemical spill that left thousands without water for days.

District Judge Thomas Johnston scheduled the hearing for Jan. 27 regarding the Freedom Industries cases.

Johnston wrote that the hearing will discuss the factual and legal basis for all pleased offenses in the cases.

Sentencings are scheduled in February for former Freedom officials Gary Southern, Dennis Farrell, William Tis, Charles Herzing, Robert Reynolds and Michael Burdette.

In January 2014, a tank at Freedom Industries in Charleston leaked chemicals into the drinking water supply for 300,000 people in parts of nine counties across the state.

Government officials discovered a licorice smell originating from Freedom's facility. Freedom did not self-report the leak of MCHM.

The plaintiffs in the many lawsuits filed against Freedom claim airborne release of MCHM from the facility caused chemical air pollution, resulting in ambient concentrations well above the odor threshold for the chemical over an area of several square miles and over a period of several days after the Jan. 9 release.

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