by Erik Hungerbuhler
Kentuckians for the Commonwealth (KFTC)
This morning KFTC member Mickey McCoy, a resident of Martin County, discovered that a stream near his home, the Coldwater Fork, was running gray and black from a slurry spill at a coal processing facility owned by Massey Energy. These types of spills threaten the health of nearby residents and wildlife populations and are all too frequently a fact of life for people who live downstream from slurry impoundments.
After investigating the spill for himself, Mickey spoke with an Appalshop filmmaker on the phone about the spill. You can listen to an edited version of their conversation here.
This spill is nowhere near the scale of the Martin Co. coal sludge flood of 2000, but it is a continuation of an ongoing pattern of clean water violations by Massey Energy despite Massey's $20 million settlement with the EPA for Clean Water Act violations two years ago. Ken Ward Jr. reported last month on his blog, the Coal Tatoo:
Between April 1, 2008, and March 31, 2009, Massey violated its effluent limits at its various operations at least 971 times, and accrued 12,977 days of violation during that 12-month period. The U.S. government’s lawsuit against Massey, which resulted in the $20 million settlement, alleged more than 60,000 days of violations over a six-year period, or about 10,000 days of violations per year.
What is it going to take to get Massey to obey the law? Why are they allowed to continue operating when they show a consistent disregard for the health and safety of the communities they reside in?
To Listen to an Interview and Access More Resources