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Update-- 16 Arrested in WVA Protesting Massey Energy
by Jessica Tuesday, May. 31, 2005 at 1:54 PM

16 People were arrested and are in custody right now for their participation in a peaceful protest in Sundial, West Virginia today.

16 People were arrested and are in custody right now for their participation in a peaceful protest in Sundial, West Virginia today. Residents of the Coal River Valley are fighting for the very lives of their children, whose Elementary School is threatened by unsafe and polluting Mountaintop Removal mining operations conducted by Massey Energy. Coal dust from a coal prep plant only 150 feet from the school enters through air intake vents, causing asthma and other respiratory problems, and coating everything with a toxic black powder.

A leaking coal sludge dam containing 2.9 billion gallons of toxic waste-- laden with mercury, cadmium, arsenic, and other toxins and heavy metals-- is only 400 feet from the elementary school and could burst at any minute. If the dam were to break it would not be possible to evacuate the school in time, and many fatalities would likely result, as well as environmental devastation downstream.

5 local residents, including parents and grandparents of children attending the Elementary School solemnly crossed a bridge onto Massey property, attempting to deliver a list of demands to officials, and were arreseted. Then, waves of supporters, in a beautiful act of solidarity, followed across the bridge with the same list of demands.

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No Time for Delay
by Sal Paradise Wednesday, Jun. 01, 2005 at 4:47 PM

A group of guerilla fighters must be assembled immediately to travel to West Virginia and free the imprisoned protestors immediately! Who else is up for an armed attack on the Sundial Police Station?

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Toxic Waste?
by anon. engineer Thursday, Jun. 02, 2005 at 12:17 PM

While there are many ligitimate reasons to push for a ban on a lot of mining practices, particularly mt. top removal, the movement is not served by making claims that the coal waste is "toxic waste" without backing it up with evidence.

The characterization of fine coal waste slurry as "toxic" is only going to be meaningful if you can show with the appropriate analytical tests that it indeed has releasable amounts of hazardous metals or organics above accepted thresholds. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, but I have pored over the Ohio Valley Coalitions' website and have not found any analytical data. I assume if they can afford to hire airplanes and pilots to overfly and photograph the mines and waste impoundments, they could have also have hired an environmental lab to do some independent sampling and lab testing of the coal slurry.

The accepted policy from the state agencies and the EPA, presumubly based on extensive prior testing is that the fine coal waste is not "toxic waste" which, btw, is so vague a term that it if you use it at a public hearing, it will only tell the agencies that you probably don't know what you are talking about.

I am aware that some of the flocculating or foaming agents used in the coal washing process are potential environmental problems - and the mines' NPDES permit requirements do need to be tightened up to include testing for many morm pollutants than they currently do.

So, i'd avoid the "toxic sludge" argument and focus on the bigger picture - the negative long term social, aesthetic, ecological and economic considerations.

As far as mt. top removal, the agencies and courts have made such a mockery of existing regualtions (approx. original contour reclaimation requirements and prohibiting the filling of perennial streams) that all-new state or federal legislation is going to be the only way to stop it. In our curent corporate-state, to say this will be a tough fight is an understatement.

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