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Research indicates chemical plant explosion investigation should be swift, community members consulted

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Martina Caretta and Erin Carlson

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Research from two West Virginia University experts indicates that investigations into industrial accidents like the Charleston-area chemical plant explosion should be transparent and involve surrounding community members. Martina Angela Caretta, assistant professor in the Department of Geology and Geography, has interviewed hundreds of West Virginians about natural resource extraction over more than four years, noting they are aware of the economic lifeline these industries provide while still having the potential for environmental and chemical disaster. Erin Brock Carlson, assistant professor, Department of English, has researched the effects of industrial development, particularly pipeline construction, on state residents, finding a shared concern about accidents, and how best to protect themselves and their families.

VIDEO: Martina Angela Caretta

“If the investigation into the causes of this accident and what has been released is not swift and conclusive, and if state politicians do not recognize that environmental standards legislation around water and air pollution and chemical safety needs to be tackled head on and responsibly, this accident will prove my interviewees right yet one more time: industries in the state do not care about communities’ health and wellbeing.”Martina Angela Caretta, assistant professor, Department of Geology and Geography

VIDEO: Erin Brock Carlson

“Over the last three years, my research with Appalachian community members facing environmental and public health crises demonstrates that community members’ experiences are often not sought out until a crisis occurs, when in fact, their experiences are so important to understanding the implications of industrial development in our communities.”Erin Brock Carlson, assistant professor, Department of English

West Virginia University experts can provide commentary, insights and opinions on various news topics. Search for an expert by name, title, area of expertise or college/school/department in the Experts Database at WVU Today.



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