On Thursday, Jan. 9, more than 7,500 gallons of a highly toxic chemical used to process coal spilled into the Elk River -- just upstream of a drinking water intake serving more than 300,000 people in West Virginia. While the spill was making national headlines as a one-time event, our thoughts turned to the much bigger problems with water pollution and politics in Appalachia that don't get enough attention from the media -- and how these chronic problems actually set the stage for this disaster.
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More from the Front Porch:
[ Who Own’s West Virginia’s Water? A Cautionary Tale ]
[ Will Politicians Hit “Snooze” On Another Wake-up Call? ]
Five years ago, the Obama Administration made a promise to the American people to address mountaintop removal coal mining -- yet the destruction of Appalachia continues on a daily basis. This year we need to make sure our voices are heard across the country. What can you commit to in 2014 for the fight against mountaintop removal?
New Virginia Coordinator Challenges Governor to Address CO2
In one of her first weeks at Appalachian Voices, Hannah Wiegard, our new Virginia campaign coordinator, took to task new Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe's suggestion that carbon capture is the solution to our country's addiction to coal. As Hannah so poignantly asks, "Wouldn't growing new sources of reliable, affordable energy matter more to the region in the long-term than prolonging fast and furious mining and burning of coal?"
Former Coal Regulator Shows How Little He Knows About Coal Regulation
You might assume that a congressman who claims to be a former coal regulator would have a keen understanding of coal regulations -- but apparently North Dakota Rep. Kevin Cramer does not. In (yet another) committee hearing about the Stream Buffer Zone Rule, Cramer smugly noted that current stream protections are sufficient and dumping mining waste into streams is illegal. We wonder what the 2,000 miles of streams buried or polluted by mountaintop removal coal mining have to say about that?