Saturday, January 11, 2014

Contaminated water crisis continues in WV--both rural and urban

Read the New York Times coverage here, and NPR's latest story here.  The chemical spill into the Elk River occurred just 2.5 miles from where it joins the Kanawha River in Charleston. The coverage I have seen focuses on Charleston, the state's largest city, even though many of the areas impacted are nonmetropolitan.  Among the nine counties declared a disaster area, six are nonmetropolitan:  Clay (population 9,386, poverty rate 26.3%), Jackson (population 29,211; poverty rate 17.8%), Lincoln (population 21,720; poverty rate 26.9%), Logan (population 36,743), Putnam (population 55,486; poverty rate 10.1%) and Roane (population 14,926; poverty rate 25%).  As the data indicate, 5 of these 7 are high poverty counties.  Lincoln and Clay are persistent poverty counties.  Putnam is a high creative class county.  Clay, Lincoln, Logan and Roane are low-education counties.  Lincoln and Logan are high out-miration counties.  All in all, not a pretty economic picture, especially in these non metro areas outside Charleston and Huntington.

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