Co. behind W.Va. chemical spill wants $5M credit

Associated Press

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — The company behind West Virginia's chemical spill is in a "death spiral" spurred by a "perception problem."

Freedom Industries President Gary Southern made the assertion in federal bankruptcy court Tuesday. His company wants up to $5 million in credit to continue operations. The company wants to use a lender run by an executive in charge of Freedom Industries' parent company.

After four hours of testimony and cross-examination, Chief Judge Ronald G. Pearson suggested having Freedom use $5 million of its own money from a $20 million merger Dec. 31.

Pearson said he's interested in a deal that keeps Freedom employees paid and covers environmental cleanup.

Southern said the company paid about $800,000 last week to remediate environmental damage caused by the Jan. 9 spill, which contaminated water for 300,000 people.