"Coal Quality" '05
Huntington Confronts Industry Myths
Huntington, WV -- On October 19th and 20th, as the 'Coal Quality '05' Expo took place in
Huntington, local community members took the opportunity to stand in
solidarity with their neighbors in the coalfields, just an hour south of
the city. 'Coal Quality '05' was intended to be an opportunity for
industry representatives to meet one another and discuss the technologies
and methods involved in the process of preparing coal for shipment and
incineration. This practice includes the construction of giant toxic
sludge lakes such as the 2.8 billion gallons perched precariously above
Marsh Fork Elementary School in Raleigh County.
Staging a candlelight vigil on the evening of the nineteenth, and a march
on the twentieth, between forty and fifty local residents as well as
several folks who traveled to Huntington from West Virginia's southern
coalfields told the true story of 'Coal Travesty '05'. The group informed
hundreds of passersby as to the horrors of sludge impoundments and
Mountain Top Removal, engaged in productive dialogue with conference goers
themselves and acted out a skit in which a lemonade stand had been
converted to a sludge stand where a predatory peddler pushed the poison on
children wearing shirts that read "Marsh Fork Elementary Honor Student".
The message of the events was clear - Mountain Top Removal and Sludge
Impoundments are not safe and the people of the Appalachian Coalfields
should not have to live with their ever-present dangers. Ultimately the
'Coal Travesty '05' demonstrations served as yet another example of the
citizens of West Virginia speaking loud and clear to governor Joe Manchin,
the demands - "Do the right thing for the kids at Marsh Fork and all
coalfield residents. Stop sacrificing the well-being and indeed the lives
of West Virginians for the sake of profit for King Coal!"
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