House Speaker John Boehner dusted off a classic Republican argument on Tuesday, explaining that "we have enough regulations on the books." He was talking about the chemical leak in West Virginia that polluted much of the state's water supply, not guns, but that's the beauty of the argument: It's multi-purpose.
As of Tuesday, the area in red on the map at right (a bigger version of which is here) still doesn't have access to clean water following a leak from a tank owned by the appropriately-named Freedom Industries. (The company distributes chemicals used in coal mining — an industry that itself is blamed for polluting 20 percent of streams in the southern part of the state.) Some places in the state's capital of Charleston, many of them "large commercial users," according to CNN, were finally cleared to begin using water in their homes five days after the leak was discovered last Thursday.
As The Hill reports, the spill, which affected about 300,000 people, comes at a politically inconvenient time for House Republicans. Among their priorities to start the calendar year was an effort to curtail environmental regulations as part of the party's larger effort to roll back government oversight systems. In the wake of the West Virginia spill, and a train derailment in North Dakota and an administration proposal to revamp chemical safety rules following last year's West, Texas fertilizer plant explosion — the timing for that push isn't great.