Front Porch Blog

Ed Wiley Arrives in Washington

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Ed Wiley: 860-248-9512 or 304-928-0208
Heather Lascher Todd (Rep. Pallone): 202-225-4671
Coal River Mountain Watch: 304-928-0208
Mary Anne Hitt (Appalachian Voices): 540-239-0073


Ed Wiley joined by thousands across America in calling for new school for kids of Marsh Fork Elementary, protection for all coalfield children

WASHINGTON, DC – West Virginia grandfather and former coal miner Ed Wiley today completed his 455-mile walk from Charleston, WV to Washington, DC, seeking help for a southern West Virginia school threatened by mountaintop removal coal mining. Supporters from across the nation joined Wiley for the last mile of his walk, from the Washington Monument to the U.S. Capitol.

Wiley walked to Washington to bring attention to the plight of children at Marsh Fork Elementary School in Sundial, WV, which is on the front lines of the controversial practice known as mountaintop removal coal mining. A 1,849-acre mountaintop removal coal mine surrounds the school area with more mining permitted. Marsh Fork Elementary sits just 225 feet from a coal loading silo that releases coal dust, with independent tests confirming the presence of coal dust in the school. A leaking earthen dam holding back 2.8 billion gallons of toxic coal-sludge is located just 400 yards above the school. The Pennies of Promise campaign was created to build a new school for the children of Marsh Fork Elementary.

Wiley has walked to Washington to seek help from West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd.

“Senator Byrd is an honorable man and a true Appalachian who cares about the people of West Virginia,” Wiley said. “I hope he will stand with us to help the children at Marsh Fork Elementary School, because our children have been sacrificed long enough.”

Wiley’s arrival in Washington coincides with Mountaintop Removal Week, during which supporters from across America have traveled to the nation’s capitol. These citizens have come to alert Congress to the dangers posed by the radical form of strip mining that involves blowing up the tops of mountains and dumping the rock into valleys below, burying streams. Mountaintop removal is spreading rapidly across Appalachia, particularly in the area around the Marsh Fork School.

Wiley was joined today by joined by U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ); Lois Gibbs, the housewife from Love Canal who alerted the nation to the dangers of toxic communities and who is known as the mother of Superfund; Teri Blanton of Kentuckians for the Commonwealth; and Mary Anne Hitt of Appalachian Voices,

They are calling on Congress to pass the Clean Water Protection Act, H.R. 2719, a bill sponsored by Rep. Pallone that would prevent the dumping of mine waste into streams and would curtail mountaintop removal.

In addition to the event, a major new online campaign was launched today at The site features the National Memorial for the Mountains, an interactive, online memorial that uses Google Earth technology to show the locations and tell the stories of the over 450 mountains that have been destroyed to date. Visitors can watch a video featuring an interview with actor Woody Harrelson and download a new acoustic version of Bob Dylan’s “Blowin in the Wind,” performed by music legend Willie Nelson. Harrelson and fellow actor Edward Norton are among the many supporters of Wiley’s walk to Washington.

“The Memorial is the first comprehensive source for penetrating the secrecy of these city-sized operations,” said Mary Anne Hitt, executive director of Appalachian Voices, the nonprofit organization that developed the site. “It features overlays that bring home the enormous scope of these mining operations: just one, for example, is comparable to the size of the entire Washington metro area.”





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