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:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
AUGUST 29, 2007
ED WILEY: (304) 731-9127
COAL RIVER MOUNTAIN WATCH: (304) 854-2182
APPALACHIAN GRANDFATHER SEEKS JUSTICE IN NYC;
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. “Iâ€™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. “Thatâ€™s how I know theyâ€™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 didnâ€™t realize that I was setting up something that could one day kill my granddaughter…Theyâ€™re putting a price on their own childrenâ€™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 â™¡ 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”
2007-08-29 18:54:50 UTC
Mar 12 2008
New York, NY