Remember the coal sludge disaster in Tennessee? A little over a month ago, a huge flood of the toxic waste left over from the process of burning coal to make electricity broke through the dam that was built to retain it, and poured out over a wide expanse of countryside, knocking houses off their foundations and even stopping a train in its tracks. It filled a nearby river and put heavy metals like arsenic into people’s drinking water.
Well, that wasn’t the only coal sludge lagoon in the USA. Far from it. The electrical plants that burn coal create huge amounts of sludge, depositing more and more of it in huge, stinking artificial lakes, straining against their retaining walls and dams.
At one such coal sludge dam in West Virginia today, local people will meet to protest the plans for another destructive aspect of the the unclean coal industry: Mountaintop removal.
The Massey Energy company is preparing to blast apart an entire mountain in order to get to the veins of coal beneath its surface. They’ve already removed the trees, and soon the mountain itself will be gone.
That mountain they’re setting explosives on sits right next to a coal sludge dam, which in turn has been built atop a network of coal mine tunnels. Does that seem safe to you? Massey Energy says it’s safe, but then, the Tennessee Valley Authority said that the coal sludge dam near Kingston, Tennessee was safe too.
The tragedy is that there’s an alternative that’s being ignored. Plans for a wind farm on top of that same mountain have been developed. If you think about it, the wind farm would produce much more electricity – after all, the wind will never stop blowing. A wind farm on top of that mountain could produce electricity for more than a billion years. The coal obtained by pulling that mountain down, on the other hand, will only produce electricity for a short time. It will be burned, once, and then it will sit as toxic waste until the end of the planet Earth. Of course, it won’t sit behind its sludge dam forever. Eventually, that dam will crack.
To join the protest against the destruction of Coal River Mountain, go to the Massey Energy coal sludge dam, assembling at the Markfork Coal Company gate in Pettus, West Virginia, on route 3 across the road from the State Police Station, just past the Dairy Queen at 1:00 PM today.
Call Charles Suggs at 304-854-7372 or 304-854-1937 for more information.