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BTL:W. Virginia Community Rallies to Safeguard Schoolchildren from Coal-Processing Health
by Distributed by Squeaky Wheel Productions http Saturday, Oct. 24, 2009 at 1:03 PM BETWEEN THE LINES c/o WPKN Radio 89.5 FM Bridgeport, Connecticut

BETWEEN THE LINES Syndicated Radio Newsmagazine

W. Virginia Community Rallies to Safeguard Schoolchildren from Coal-Processing Health Hazards

Interview with Ed Wiley, West Virginia coal country activist, conducted by Melinda Tuhus

Ed Wiley is a resident of Rock Creek, W.Va., in the Coal River Valley. In 2006, he walked more than 500 miles from Charleston, W. Va. to Washington, D.C. to urge Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W. Va.) to support the community's efforts to build a new school because the existing Marsh Fork Elementary sits in the shadow of a massive coal processing plant and coal loading silo. Nearly 3 billion gallons of toxic sludge sit behind a leaking impoundment dam 400 yards from the school.

When he worked for the mining company, Wiley helped pump that sludge into the mountain without much thought of the danger it posed. Then his granddaughter, a student at the school, became ill along with many other kids there, due to the school's close proximity to the coal facilities. Tests indicated severe air contamination, and everyone at the school lived with the fear of a catastrophic break in the dam.

After fruitless appeals to the county and state boards of education and to West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin, Wiley decided to up the ante. He and fellow grassroots activists formed a group, Pennies of Promise, to collect money to build a new school themselves and to raise awareness of the dangers coal mining poses to communities dependent on the industry throughout southern West Virginia. Between The Lines' Melinda Tuhus spoke with Ed Wiley at his Rock Creek home. He explains that the coal operation there is illegal and describes his efforts to ensure the safety of his town's children.

Visit Ed Wiley's group's website at More information can be found at the site of Coal River Mountain Watch at Contact the group at (304) 854-2182.

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"Between The Lines" is a half-hour syndicated radio news magazine that each week features a summary of under-reported news stories and interviews with activists and journalists who offer progressive perspectives on international, national and regional political, economic and social issues. Because "Between The Lines" is independent of all publications, media networks or political parties, we are able to bring a diversity of voices to the airwaves generally ignored or marginalized by the major media. For more information on this week's topics and to check out our text archive listing topics and guests presented in previous programs visit:
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