In Southern Legislative Conference (SLC) member states, the coal and chemical industries are essential to state economies. Because of the importance of these industries to the region, both in terms of economic development and employment opportunities, legislators often are faced with balancing business interests with the need for environmental protection and conservation. Recently, hazardous spills in two SLC states - West Virginia and North Carolina - have focused attention on this careful balance. This SLC Regional Resource examines the spills in West Virginia and North Carolina and the immediate remedial action taken by each state. Understanding how these states reacted in the wake of water contamination can help other SLC states respond quickly and effectively if faced with similar challenges.