Daily Kos group
Thu Jan 23, 2014 at 12:06 PM PST
The News Just Keeps Getting Worse for West Virginia (and It Doesn’t Stop There)
by Mary Anne HittFollow for DK GreenRoots
Earlier this week my West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin said the following about whether people should be drinking the water in Charleston and downstream: “It’s your decision….I’m not a scientist.”
For the 300,000 people affected by the coal chemical spill from two weeks ago, I bet that’s very reassuring. Quite a profile in courage, our governor. Even less reassuring, the news came out Wednesday that there was another mysterious chemical spill in that leak, and officials are now testing to make sure the water treatment facility removed that chemical.
And it gets worse – how about this article featuring a former WV coal miner Joe Stanley, who says:
“I watched the coal industry poison our water for years. Now they’re telling us not to drink the water? We’ve been dumping this stuff into unlined ponds and into old mines for years,” he says. “This MCHM was just one of the chemicals we were told was highly toxic but that we dumped into old mine shafts and slurry ponds, and it’s been seeping into the groundwater for years.”
It sounds bad even before Stanley explains that coal mines are constantly pumped to clear ground water, aquifers, and underground streams: “As soon as we’re out of that mine it immediately fills with water. And where does it go from there? I don’t know, your guess is as good as mine.”
Stanley says he hasn’t drunk the water for years and that no one else should either.
We know the coal industry is getting away with poisoning our waterways nationwide, and a new study of federal data by the Associated Press shows just that. Coal industry chemicals and waste “have tainted hundreds of waterways and groundwater supplies, spoiling private wells, shutting down fishing and rendering streams virtually lifeless.”
And here’s the damning detail: “(B)ecause these contaminants are released gradually and in some cases not tracked or regulated, they attract much less attention than a massive spill such as the recent one in West Virginia.”
Coal-fired power plants are the nation’s biggest water polluters, spewing millions of pounds of toxic metals and other pollutants like arsenic, boron, cadmium, chromium, lead, mercury, and selenium into surface waters each year.
Ref Link: West Virginia Scientists to EPA, CDC: Allow Your Scientists to Speak
Union of Concerned Scientists: Michael Halpern