Front Porch Blog

Massey: The Courts Can’t Tell Us What To Do

The Sahara, a lone desert island, or West Virginia?

As of 9:30 a.m., Friday, July 28, approximately 22 individuals, who were desperate for water, according to their attorney, were turned away from the church because of the defendant’s failure to supply water at the designated time and place.

A subsidiary of Massey Energy is ignoring a court order requiring them to supply residents of Rawl, Lick Creek, Merrimac, and Sprigg areas of West Virginia with non-poisonous water.

On June 8, 2006, a motion was filed by the attorney representing these residents asking that the mining company responsible for allegedly destroying their wells and water table be ordered to provide water replacement.

This motion was granted on July 24, 2006, and Circuit Court Judge Michael Thornsbury decreed that the defendants, Rawl Sales and Processing Company, a subsidiary of Massey Energy Company, provide one case of bottled water per person every week to 194 individuals.

A case of bottled water a week? Thats nothing! I hate to be cynical about Massey’s motives, but wouldn’t a case of water per person be cheaper than defending themselves in court? The people suffering from thirst are, unsuprisingly, a little ticked off.

Lick Creek resident B.I. Sammons said:

This is the first time in Mingo County history that anyone has refused to obey a court order – that I know of.

Massey subsidiary Rawl Sales and Processing, has failed to comply, according to the Williamson Daily News.

Yes. We know you agreed not to provide it. That’s why the people who were drinking poisoned water took you to court, and a court order was instated requiring you by US law to supply a few people in Mingo County with fresh water so that they didn’t keep getting kidney stones and cancer from their tap.

Today, I can think of a lot of things I am thankful for. I’m in Phoenix, where its 100 degrees at 8AM. However, it is no problem for me, here in the middle of the southwestern desert, to turn on the faucet and have a nice cold glass of water. The good people of the coalfields are having no such luck here in the dog days of summer.

The coalfield residents of Mingo County have fought for years to get clean, safe, non-poisonous water to drink, cook with, and shower with. Their water supply is currently filled with over 20 heavy metals after coal companies pumped sludge into old underground mines.

Coal companies are starting to find it harder to get away with harming the kids, families, and communities of whatever area they happen to be swooping through.

In a related story, residents of the area are expected to continue to need fresh water to live until they evolvolution provides them with an immuninty to mercury poisoning. As for me, Im glad they’re fighting tooth and nail rather than holding their breath. Because of their persistence and hard work (in a major blow to those attempting to keep the people of the area from having fresh water) a water supply line from Williamson will be completed by 2007, and the people of this beautiful area will no longer have to drink toxic tea.





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