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Company behind West Virginia chemical spill declares bankruptcy

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Freedom Industries, the company responsible for the West Virginia chemical spill that left over 300,000 citizens without safe drinking water, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The company owes $3.7 million to a list of 20 different unsecured creditors, along with more than $2.4 million in back taxes owed to the IRS dating back to at least 2000. Still, the likely reason for its imminent bankruptcy is as-yet untallied liabilities resulting from the spill. Freedom Industries is already the target of a federal suit, along with 25 different lawsuits filed in local country courts.

The bankruptcy documents address the spill directly, claiming the breach was the result of a broken water line that burst open during a cold snap immediately before the spill. It's still unclear how the bankruptcy protection will affect the ongoing suits, but seems increasingly unlikely that the company or its founders will be able to contribute to the relief and recovery of the surrounding area. One of the founders of the Freedom Industries, Carl Lemley Kennedy II, has previously been jailed for tax evasion, as well as a separate conviction for selling cocaine.