Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor,
I am the wife of a recently disabled coal miner, and offer my opinion on the (Clean Coal) campaign.
Coal is filthy, and in more ways than one.
I was insulted when (West Virginia) allowed the workers’ compensation laws to be changed so coal companies don’t have to pay when a miner is injured. The state left huge loopholes so coal companies can deny injured workers treatment as well as payment to take care of their families while off work injured.
I find it very insulting that 12 men were allowed to die at Sago because the coal company didn’t make sure their self-rescuers worked properly.
I find it insulting that two men died at Aracoma because the company was allowed to bring their fresh air up the belt line that transports the coal. That was a shortcut to save money and time.
The company was also allowed to disconnect the water lines and other fire suppressants… Believe me, black lung is still around, and my husband got that free of charge. So let’s remember: Coal is filthy to workers and communities.
Patty Sebok
Coal River, WV

Dear Editor,
The Coal Mountain Crime War is getting out of control, much like the Bush- Cheney war. If Appalachian Voice will cover the current WV coal war, it will help us even more than any of our newspapers … I don’t remember anything like this since the Buffalo Creek War of 1972… I returned to West Virginia shortly afterward to help with the battle to save our mountains, rivers and small towns.
Jack Frazier

Dear Editor,
(In response to an inquiry), West Virginia has not attempted to estimate the number of persons downstream from high hazard potential dams. If the estimates were made, only state totals may be available due to security concerns. As to your questions about Buffalo Creek, there is much the state and federal governments have done to prevent another disaster ..
The state and Mine Safety & Health Administration (MSHA) required many safety repairs immediately after Buffalo Creek in 1972. …(These include) spillways, construction of buttresses, and installation of proper embankment drainage. Coal dams that the owners were unwilling to repair were breached or had the reservoirs filled with solid material to eliminate water impoundment. After more than 30 years of effort, coal related dams should all meet the current safety standards, and they are monitored closely through MSHA and DEP inspections…
Brian Long
Program Manager
Env. Enforcement &
Dam Safety
601 57th Street SE
Charleston, WV


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