Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition
Archive list of "E"- Notes newsletters

Click links below to read articles online, or try the PDF version to view or print an exact replica of the paper newsletter. 

October 2009

Major News: EPA May Do Its Job!
DEP Biologist: Agency Chief Huffmans Testimony to Congress Was Ill Informed

Thinking About Your Legacy: An Open Letter from Dr. Ken Hechler

Reflecting on EPAs Announcement
JOBS in the Coalfields, the Right Way
Families in Mingo Co. Sue Over Flooding
Asking the Highest Court in the Land to Hear Our Case
Dear Friends at OVEC
Lindytown - Threats, Dead Horses and Shattered Dreams As the Draglines Creep Ever Closer
Lindytown - From Nice Little Mountain Town to Virtual Ghost Town
EPA Moves to Block WVs Largest MTR Mining Permit
Corps Approves Controversial Permit Despite EPAs Objections
The Trail of Tears - History Is Repeating Itself in WV
Policy Efforts on Family Cemetery Protection Issues
Join the Cemetery Protection Group And Help Find Long-Term Solutions
Awareness is Where Its At
Please Pray for Webster County
Cook Family Cemeteries: Ancestors No Longer Rest In Peace Due to Mountaintop Removal Mining
Coal Slurry: New York Times Nails Clean Water Act Crimes (Many) and Punishment (None)
Victory! Public Water Lines Finally Coming to Prenter
Goodbye Patricia, Welcome Stephanie! - New Organizer Joins SSP Effort
WVU Studying Effects of Coal Slurry Injection on Health
Working to Reduce Coal Prep Plant Air Pollution
Six Southern WV Communities to Benefit from EPA Grant
Judge Thornsbury Disqualified from Presiding in Slurry Injection Case
Coal Country - the movie: Film Debuts To Packed Crowd After Concerns Almost Cancel Showing
Help End MTR and Help Coal Country Have a Party!
OVEC: Power With!
What Happens In Valleys Is As Important As What Happens On Mountain Peaks
Plundering Appalachia - The Book, Is Here!
Chemicals and Their Dangers Force People From Kanawha Valley
Clean Elections - Saving WV From Future Scandals
Why Manchin and Co. Dont Care About Health in the Coalfields
Eating For OVEC Keeps Raising $$$
Carbon Tax: Our ACES in the Hole for Real Change
Report: Global Warming Causes 300,000 Deaths A Year, Toll to Increase
Remembering Conley Branch - May It Always Be In My Heart
United Against MTR:
Red Bandanas, Dreadlocks, Clean-Cut, Old Folks and Young
TV News Fails to Cover Mountaintop Removal Well, Or At All
Nominations for OSM Chief
University Divesting of Massey Stock, Others May Follow
Toxic Legislation: Selenium at the Legislature; OVEC Appeal to EPA

For viewing the PDF version of the newsletter

Winds of Change Newsletter, October 2009     See sidebar for table of contents

Sludge Safety ProjectCoal Slurry: New York Times Nails Clean Water Act Crimes (Many) and Punishment (None)

by Jeff Biggers, excerpted from an article in AlterNet


Many readers of the New York Times probably dropped their jaws in amazement at the lead story on Sunday, Sept.13. Seven-year-old Ryan Massey, of Prenter, WV, showed his capped teeth, the enamel devoured by toxic tap water. His brother sported scabs and rashes, courtesy of the heavy metals including lead, nickel in their bath water. A horrifying slide show and video accompanied the article.

Thanks to Times reporter Charles Duhigg, the rest of the United States got a glimpse of daily life in the coalfields of Appalachia, where coal companies are "pumping into the ground illegal concentrations of chemicals the same pollutants that flowed from residents taps." And the coda: "But state regulators never fined or punished those companies for breaking those pollution laws."

Duhiggs portrait of the Clean Water Act violations in West Virginia and the indifference of state agencies blew the cover on one of the worst kept secrets in Appalachia: coal slurry injected into abandoned mines and dumped into waterways has contaminated the watersheds of American citizens and their drinking water...and no government agency did anything about it for years until the community finally fought back. (Go Prenter Water Fund and Sludge Safety Project!)

"How can we get digital cable and Internet in our homes, but not clean water?" said Ryans mother, Jennifer Hall-Massey, a senior accountant at one of the states largest banks.

According to Duhiggs research in Prenter, "Tests show that their tap water contains arsenic, barium, lead, manganese and other chemicals at concentrations federal regulators say could contribute to cancer and damage the kidneys and nervous system."

Thats just the beginning. As the Aurora Lights "Journey Up Coal River" has noted: "Unsurprisingly, the health problems in this community are also massive: from kidney and liver failure to Parkinsons-like neurological problems, common respiratory illnesses that last for years despite treatment, and many different cancers. On a single 300-yard stretch of road, five people were diagnosed with brain tumors and nearly every family has someone in and out of the hospital."

Mathew Louis-Rosenberg was not surprised by the Times article. The young activist took time from a busy day of lobbying with the Sludge Safety Project in Charleston, WV, to discuss his work on the Project and the Prenter Water Fund.

Biggers: "Do you think your work, along with other residents and advocates, helped to get the story out to a national audience?"

Louis-Rosenberg: "Absolutely. The one thing that I was disappointed about in the article was the lack of any mention of the tireless work of community leaders in Prenter and their allies to bring this story to light and win the many victories we have won on this issue.

"Nobody but nobody had heard of Prenter, WV, until organizing began there in 2007. Now we are a household name around the State Capitol in Charleston. Many of the leaders and organizers in Prenter spent many hours on the phone with the Times reporter telling their stories, providing information and connected him with other residents."

Biggers: "What impact do you think the Times piece will have on the WVDEP in addressing the water issue?"

Louis-Rosenberg: "I think the article has the potential to be a great weapon for us here in Charleston. I spent all day lobbying in the Capitol today to line up sponsors for a bill to ban coal slurry. We took around copies of the Times article and, boy, did peoples ears perk up when they found out about it.

"The DEP is such a completely failed agency. No! Thats not strong enough. The DEP is so completely the lapdog of the coal industry that I dont expect this to change their ways.

"But now when we go to the legislature asking them to ban slurry, when we go to the EPA asking them to take over the DEP, we can say, "Look. The cats out of the bag. Everyone knows whats going on here and you can step up and do something about it or be the people who fiddled while the coal companies poisoned the waters of this state and murdered communities like Prenter."

To get involved with Sludge Safety Project, e-mail stephanie -no longer valid or call Stephanie at (304) 475-3873.


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