While coal may now be the official rock of West Virginia, it might soon become the official school vegetable, too. Call it organic clean coal.
On the heels of being reprimanded by the US Supreme Court this week for allowing one of its Massey coal company-bankrolled justices to refuse to recuse himself on Massey coal-related court matters, the West Virginia Supreme Court upheld a lower court's decision to allow the construction of another controversial coal silo within yards of the Marsh Fork Elementary School in Sundial, West Virginia. The WV Supreme Court (this time without the recused justice) made their ruling on a very narrow technicality.
As always, Ken Ward has the full story at the Coal Tattoo blog.
According to Vernon Haltom of the Coal River Mountain Watch: "The West Virginia Supreme Court has once again proven that coal company profits outweigh law, science, justice, and basic human decency. The court has given Massey Energy the go-ahead to put more tons of fine coal dust in the air that children breathe every school day during their crucial development years. Placing a second coal silo within 300 feet of the school is a clear violation of the intent of the law, which is to protect the public. Now, more than ever, Governor Joe Manchin and the Raleigh County School Board must do everything in their extensive power and influence to get these kids a safe new school in their own community."
The Marsh Fork Elementary School might be the poster child for everything that is wrong about our failed mining policies: Only a few football fields downslope of a 2.8 billion gallon coal sludge impoundment, the school and its children are also subjected to the toxic coal dust within a football field of their playground.
An overview of the Marsh Fork Elementary situation can be seen here.
Three years ago, local resident and former coal miner Ed Wiley walked 445 miles to Washington, DC in a campaign to get a new school built for his granddaughter and other local kids.
To understand the concerns and despair of the local parents at Marsh Fork Elementary, here's a clip from Wiley:
Here's another clip on the impact of coal on Marsh Fork area residents: