Sundial, West Virginia
May 24, 2005
While Massey Energy stockholders met at
the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City, parents, grandparents, and
other residents of Coal River Valley, West Virginia rallied to oppose
Massey's operations adjacent to Marsh Fork Elementary School. Massey
owns Goals Coal Company, which operates a coal preparation plant,
loading silo, and toxic waste storage facility beside the K-5 th grade
school. 25 residents of the Coal River Valley and 25 supporters from
other regions currently being mined participated in the rally. After
an opening prayer, speakers described the hazards of the operations
and read a list of demands for Massey. Two grandmothers and a third
resident of the valley attempted to deliver a list of demands. The
residents demanded that the coal preparation plant behind Marsh Fork
Elementary School be shut down, that Marsh Fork Elementary School be
cleaned up or that a safe, new school be built in their community,
that Massey withdraw its application for the second coal loading silo
behind the school, that Massey stop blasting their homes because
residents have a right to be safe and secure, and that Massey shut
down its surface mine sites. The residents were met by the plant's
head of security who refused to allow them to present their demands.
When the residents again attempted to present their demands, they were
arrested in a moving and dramatic act of civil conscience.
"Seems to me that every government
official in this country has a responsibility to protect American
citizens everywhere. In fact, they've sworn to it. Yet, we, the
citizens of Coal River Valley, have been abandoned to fend for our
children," said Bo Webb, one of the residents who was arrested. "I
commend the West Virginia State Police Department for being courteous
and calm and treating us with the utmost respect, which is something
that no politician or coal company has ever done for the residents of
Coal River Valley."
"Our communities and children have been
the sacrificial lambs long enough to the coal companies. It's time for
us as the parents, grandparents and the community to change that,"
said Debbie Jarrells, whose granddaughter attends Marsh Fork
Elementary. Ms. Jarrells was among the residents who attempted to
deliver the demands to Massey, but was not arrested.
"I have to commend the residents of Coal
River. I'm very proud of them for standing up to Massey Coal. We
embrace and we welcome all our brothers and sisters all over America
in this fight to stop the rape of Appalachia. I think this is a
perfect way to announce that we are Mountain Justice Summer. I think
that it's a crime that the people of Appalachia have to beg the
government to protect them from violent coal companies like Massey
Energy," said Judy Bonds, the 2003 Winner of the Goldman Prize and a
grandmother and resident of the Coal River Valley. Ms. Bonds was also
The West Virginia Department of
Environmental Protection (DEP) is considering Massey's application to
construct a second loading silo next to the first, which sits 150 feet
from school grounds. The DEP is holding a hearing Thursday, May 26, at
6:00 p.m. at the school in Sundial. At the hearing, residents can
voice their concerns over the silo and also over the renewal of
Massey's permit to operate the waste facility, a 2.8 billion-gallon
earthen dam whose base is 400 yards from school grounds. In spite of
residents' protests, in 2004 the DEP approved Massey's permit to
operate a 1,849 acre mountaintop removal site around the waste
facility above the school.
"We've appealed to every government agency
and elected representative we can think of," said Bo Webb of Coal
River Valley, who was arrested. "They all pass the buck or just ignore
us. No one seems to care about these kids. No child in America, or
anywhere for that matter, should be forced to attend a school
surrounded by these monstrosities."
"Anyone who thinks Massey is doing the
right thing with energy needs to take a good look at this sludge dam
and prep plant, " said Patty Sebok of Coal River Valley. "Massey
Energy's disregard for Appalachian people is what is truly extreme.
Just look at this silo, right next to the school. Decent people do not
allow this kind of atrocity."
Jackie Browning, a Coal River Valley
resident who participated in building the sludge dam, said, "This dam
is not compacted correctly. It's not as strong as it should be and
poses a threat to these kids." Recent inspection reports from the U.S.
Mine Safety and Health Administration show seepage from widespread
areas of the toe area and from the downstream foundation area.
Ed Wiley, a Coal River Valley resident
whose granddaughter attends Marsh Fork Elementary, said, "What Massey
Energy is doing to these children and this community is nothing short
of terrorism. The kids live in fear, but we shouldn't let Massey drive
us out of our homeland. We should have the same rights as any other
"We don't just have a right to be here; we
have a duty to these kids to be here. Everyone who cares about our
children should be here with us," added Webb.
Debbie Jarrells, a Coal River resident whose granddaughter
attends Marsh Fork Elementary, said, "This coal company and this state
are using our children as sacrificial lambs. We're here to take their
place. All parents need to stand up for their children."
To let them know how you feel,
(destroyer of mountains, waterways and communities in WV and KY;
also viciously anti-union)
4 North 4th Street, Richmond, VA 23219
Phone: 888.424.2417, 804.788.1824
Some of Massey's top managers:
Virginia Coal Association
P.O. Box 3923, Charleston, WV 25339
Phone: 304.342.4153 Fax: 304.342.7651
President - Bill Raney (email@example.com),
Senior VP – Chris Hamilton (firstname.lastname@example.org),
VP – Dan Miller (email@example.com),
Regulatory Affairs - Jason Bostic (firstname.lastname@example.org),
Administrative Assistant - Sandi Davison (email@example.com)
P.O. Box 3923 Charleston, WV 25339
Ed Wiley, a concerned citizen whose
grand daughter goes to Marsh Fork Elementary School
Bo Webb confronts Massey Security
Goldman Prize Winner Judy Bonds of Coal
River Mountain Watch being arrested
(left) mountain resident whose mountains have been so mined that his
hollow has become a peak.
by Chris Mayda