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WV Gov. Tomblin asks public for input in chemical leak response

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Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin is asking for the public’s input on the state’s emergency response to the Jan. 9 chemical spill into the Elk River.

The governor is calling the questionnaire the “After Action Review” of West Virginia's response to spill. The review will be conducted almost four months after the initial spill that contaminated the drinking water supply for 300,000 residents around the capital city.

To participate in the public comment portion of the After Action Review, click here. Questionnaire responses must be received by May 26, 2014.

The review’s questions will focus on the many ways in which state agencies, county and local emergency management offices, volunteer and charity organizations, the West Virginia National Guard, and other entities responded to the nine-county State of Emergency. It will also address ways the state can improve its emergency response systems. Tomblin asked Adjutant General James Hoyer, West Virginia National Guard; Jimmy Gianato, Director of Homeland Security and Emergency Management; and Peter Markham, General Counsel for the Office of the Governor to coordinate and supervise the report.

"The Elk River chemical spill was an unprecedented disaster that affected the lives of hundreds of thousands of West Virginians, and has launched a national dialogue about the safety of our nation's water supply," Tomblin said in a statement. "As this dialogue continues, West Virginia's emergency response will act as a blueprint for other states across the country. The thoroughness of the Review depends in large measure on citizen participation. It is critical we receive an honest assessment of the emergency response including what we did well, opportunities for improvement, and concrete solutions for improving future response efforts."