CHARLESTON, W.Va. – On the third day without clean tap water, business owners with empty dining rooms and quiet aisles of merchandise around West Virginia’s capital were left to wonder how much of an economic hit they’ll take from a chemical spill.There it is, take a gander. Take another gander at Lac-Megantic, or the more recent Plaster Rock explosion where residents are also being told "don't use the tap water". Take a gander at the BP oil spill and Fukushima and resulting cover ups. The bottomless oil spill the Alberta government worked so hard to cover-up and is now being investigated by a "regulator" the industry basically shit out themselves. This and many, many, more major accidents have happened in just the last 5 years each with the same predictable response.
Most visitors have cleared out of Charleston while locals are either staying home or driving out of the area to find somewhere they can get a hot meal or take a hot shower. Orders not to use tap water for much other than flushing toilets mean that the spill is an emergency not just for the environment but also for local businesses.
A water company executive said Saturday that it could be days before uncontaminated water is flowing again for about 300,000 people in nine West Virginia counties. The uncertainty means it’s impossible to estimate the economic impact of the spill yet, said the leader of the local chamber of commerce.
Virtually every restaurant was dark Saturday, unable to use water to prepare food, wash dishes or clean employees’ hands. Meanwhile, hotels had emptied and foot traffic was down at many retail stores.
After every accident everyone says "we need to do better". Everyone is also saying however that we need a "balanced budget" and "economic efficiencies need to be found" and "we need inflation", etc, etc. It's plain as day that going forward there is going to be less and less resources to put towards maintenance, regulation, and inspections. It's plain as day less and less people will be overseeing operations as jobs are farmed out in our global race for enslavement. To even suggest we can or should "do it better" is absurd because economics dictates under our current system that we're going to have to keep doing it worse and worse, especially with realities like peak oil being the party pooper it is.
So this is it, prosperity. Take a look around in appreciation of all we've accomplished at our own expense; the expense of your wealth, and most importantly people's lives and our children's futures. Let's just keep hoping your tap water remains usable because as Canadians "hoping for the best" seems to be about all we're willing to do. Hey, don't worry about it, they're prepared, honest.
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Richard Fantin is a self-taught software developer who has mostly throughout his career focused on financial applications and high frequency trading. He currently works for eQube gaming systems.
Nazayh Zanidean is a Project Coordinator for a mid-sized construction contractor in Calgary, Alberta. He enjoys writing as a hobby on topics that include foreign policy, international human rights, security and systemic media bias.