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Appalachian Grandfather Seeks Justice in NYC

I thought LS’s might be interested in an upcoming month long action by a 49-year- old West Virginian grandfather fighting for justice in the Appalachian coalfields on the streets of New York city.

You’ve probably seen the recent news about Bush trying to expand the practice of the devastating coal mining technique known at mountaintop removal / valley fill coal mining last friday…

and their recent editorial on the subject:

AUGUST 29, 2007

ED WILEY: (304) 731-9127

Schoolchildren, communities threatened by coal industry abuses

NEW YORK, NY – West Virginia grand-father Ed Wiley, 49, will arrive in New York City’s Rockefeller Plaza at 7:00am on September 1 , 2007, to voice his concerns about the safety of some 230 elementary school children in the southern West Virginia coalfields. Targeting the live cameras of the “Today Show” and the crowds at Rockefeller Plaza, Wiley will stake out his spot to draw the nation’s attention to the dirty business of Mountaintop Removal / Valley Fill Coal Mining that is ravaging the Appalachian region and its people.

Wiley will stand at Rockefeller Plaza from 7-am – 3-pm each day, targeting the morning show cameras from 7-am – 10-am and the crowds from 10-am – 3-pm.

Wiley hopes to garner attention to the dangerous proximity of the Massey Energy-owned Goals Coal plant to the 230 students at Marsh Fork Elementary School in Sundial, WV. The school grounds are just a few hundred feet from the plant which includes a toxic coal sludge dam; a coal dust – spewing coal processing plant and a mountaintop removal coal extraction site.

Concerned residents worry that the coal sludge impoundment will breach, unleashing a deadly flood of toxic waste onto the school and the Coal River Valley, jeopardizing the lives of 977 people. Concerned residents allege that the coal dust in the school is making the children and teachers sick. The sludge dam holds 2.8 billion gallons of coal waste just 400 yards upstream from the school. Documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by Coal River Mountain Watch, testify to the fact that the dam is leaking and ill-constructed, citing numerous and repeated violations deemed to be “serious or substantial” by the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA).

Ed Wiley knows his stuff when it comes to coal mining and coal-waste storage. “I’ve worked on every Massey site in West Virginia,” he says. Between 1996 and 1999, he worked with TW Pew, a contractor “who was tied in tight with Massey.” On the mountaintop removal mine sites, Wiley helped build roads and coal sludge ponds, moved equipment, and ran water and slurry lines. “That’s how I know they’re pumping sludge into those mountains,” he adds. He laid the groundwork for it.

“I was blinded by the $13.50 an hour I never had,” he continues. “I was blinded by the medical card I never had. I didn’t realize that I was setting up something that could one day kill my granddaughter…They’re putting a price on their own children’s head.”

Wiley has helped draw an ever-widening audience to the irreparable damage that mountaintop removal / valley fill coal mining is wreaking on the land and people of West Virginia. In July, 2005 he staged a sit-in on the steps of the WV state capitol; in August, 2006, Wiley walked 455 miles from Charleston, WV to Washington, DC to speak to lawmakers. This summer Wiley says, “I’m going to let New York City walk by me.”

The movement to save the children of Marsh Fork Elementary School has drawn the attention of Bobby Kennedy, Jr and actor/activist Woody Harrelson, who have both personally promised Wiley that they will stand with him in Rockefeller Plaza.

Ed Wiley will be available for meetings/lectures and presentations, evenings throughout September in New York City. To schedule a meeting, lecture or presentation with Ed Wiley in New York please contact our Presentation Coordinator, Jordan Freeman at (310) 245-7815.

For more information on the subject:
Pennies of Promise
Coal River Mountain Watch www.crmw.net
Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition www.ohvec.org
I ♡ Mountains ilovemountains.org

Previous Media Reports on the issues:
ABC World News Tonight, “Is Coal Making the Children Sick?”
Living on Earth, “Learning in the Shadow of Coal”
WV Public Broadcasting, “History of Appalachian Coalfield Protests”
DoubleTake magazine, “Mountaintop Removal / Valley Fill Coal Mining in West Virginia”

by antrim caskey at 2007-08-29 18:54:50 UTC (ed. Mar 12 2008 ) New York, NY , United States | Bookmark | | Report spam→

Antrim – thanks for this.

I grew up in eastern Kentucky on the West Virginia border (in Hatfield-McCoy country) and have witnessed first hand the devastating effects of this type of mining not only on the people but also on the mountains.

I wish Ed all the best in his efforts to bring more light to this issue.

Again, thanks Antrim for this post.

by Roger May | 29 Aug 2007 20:08 | Raleigh, NC, United States | | Report spam→
Antrim :)))

thanks for the info…wish i could be in the city to support Mr. Wiley…..

he is, in the truest sense of the word, an Orchard Keeper…..

keep us posted….



by [former member] | 30 Aug 2007 02:08 | Toronto (for now), Canada | | Report spam→
thank you Roger and Bob for your words…I really appreciate your interest.

The destruction of the mountains, water and air of Appalachia and the “de-population” of the region is a text book case of corruption and social injustice.

I have never been so drawn to a subject.

Again thank you so much for your interest.
very best, antrim

by antrim caskey | 30 Aug 2007 16:08 | New York, NY, United States | | Report spam→

If you haven’t seen Sasha Waters’ Razing Appalachia, it’s a must-see.



by Roger May | 30 Aug 2007 21:08 | Raleigh, NC, United States | | Report spam→
Not to toot my own horn, but I have also shot Mountain Top Removal – from the air.

This piece ran in Audubon earlier this year. Most of my family is from West Virginia and I am shocked by what I have seen happen to southern West Virginia and now, Virginia and Kentucky.

If you are interested, here is a different perspective on the problem,



by Cameron Davidson | 31 Aug 2007 02:08 | Washington DC, United States | | Report spam→
Cameron, I did see your piece, I think OHVEC posted alink to it when it came out…very nice work…thank you for pointing it out again…whereabout in WV? i’d also reccommend a new doc. about the subject called Mountaintop Remvoal by Michael C. O’Connell, one of the many many wonderful people i’ve met along the way in my reporting
all best ,


by antrim caskey | 31 Aug 2007 20:08 | New York, NY, United States | | Report spam→
HI Antrim,

The images were shot across Southern West Virginia. From west of the center of the state to Logan. MT Removal is happening from the far southern edges of West Virginia to near Charleston.

The Audubon piece was shot from several flights.

by Cameron Davidson | 01 Sep 2007 11:09 | Washington DC, United States | | Report spam→
FYI, for those interested in this issue and who may or may not be in NYC, Appalachian grandfather Ed Wiley had his first day in the crowds at the live taping of the Today Show in Rockefeller Plaza – it was amazing to see this true mountain man connecting with New Yorkers and the tourists – he spoke at length to a group of tourists from Kentucky, whose Governor Fletcher is all hot about Coal to Liquid; he spoke afterwards with the security guys at the Today Show who showed a genuine interest in the issue; and he spoke to several of the weekend hosts and stage producers…the goal for Ed Wiley is to be invited onto the show to speak about the situation at Marsh Fork Elementary. Today seemed like an auspicious start…If you are in NYC, please feel free to stop by between 7am – 3pm to support a very important issue…

by antrim caskey | 01 Sep 2007 17:09 | New York, NY, United States | | Report spam→

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antrim caskey, Photojournalist antrim caskey
Rock Creek, West Virginia , United States
Roger May, Photographer Roger May
Raleigh, Nc , United States
Cameron Davidson, Photographer Cameron Davidson
[undisclosed location].


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