11 protesters arrested at West Virginia’s governor’s office

from http://itsgettinghotinhere.org

occupation      arrest

TAKE ACTION!
Call Governor Manchin’s office: 1-888-438-2731 (toll free) or 1-304-558-2000.
Send a FAX 1-304-342-7025 – instructions on how to send a free fax from the web below!
Email the Governor’s office: Governor@WVGov.org.

Charleston, W. Va.-Eleven parents, community leaders and student activists were arrested today while sitting in at the office of West Virginia Governor Joe Mancin. Their sit-in was spurred by a recent decision by the State Mine Board to approve a second coal silo nearMarsh Fork Elementary School. Protesters were treating roughly and dragged through puddles of mud. About 40 protesters remain in the governor’s office. Marsh Fork Elementary located near Sundial, WV currently sits 225 feet from a coal silo. Residents say Governor Joe Manchin is shirking his responsibility for the health and safety of the students.

The coal silo operated by Massey Energy releases chemical-laden coal dust into the air which is poisoning the air that school kids have to breathe. Independent studies have found coal dust throughout the school. The school is also 400 yards downstream from a 385 foot tall seeping toxic coal waste sludge dam with a nearly 3 billion gallon capacity, over 20 times the volume of the Buffalo Creek sludge dam disaster that killed 125 people in 1972. A 1,849-acre mountaintop removal mine surrounds the sludge dam and much of the nearby area.

“Governor Mancin seems to believe that all he has to do is make promises while the children who attend Marsh Fork continue to breathe in coal dust,” says Bill Price of
Charleston, WV. “We are not interested in promises. We want a new school for these kids so that they do not have to breathe in polluted air while they are trying to learn.”

“This is exciting that students and community members have joined together to demand a safer school for the kids who attend Marsh Folk Elementary,” says Sarah Kidder, a student at Glenville State College and a key protest organizer. “These kids should not have to endanger their lives simply by going to school and having to breathe in air polluted by coal dust.”

Massey has been attempting to build a second coal silo near the school, but the WV Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in 2005 rejected Massey’s permit request for the second silo. On Tuesday, March 13, the state Surface Mine Board overturned the DEP’s order that blocked the silo.

“The situation at Marsh Fork is an embarrassment to West Virginia,” said Lindsey Warf of
Bluefield, WV. “People from other states can’t believe this is happening in the
US.”

Contrary to Massey’s public claim that the silo would reduce coal dust, their 2005 air quality permit application associated with the second silo’s operation predicts an increase in coal dust emissions by three and a half tons of dust per year.

TAKE ACTION!
Call Governor Manchin’s office: 1-888-438-2731 (toll free) or 1-304-558-2000.
Send a FAX 1-304-342-7025 – instructions on how to send a free fax from the web below!
Email the Governor’s office: Governor@WVGov.org.

TALKING POINTS
* The kids at Marsh Fork Elementary need a new school in their own community now more than ever.
* Every child deserves a safe and healthy school in their own community.
* Forget a new silo – build the kids a new school!
* Massey’s own air quality permit predicts an increase in the amount of coal dust (3.49 tons per year) emitted by operating a second silo.
*Neither the state Department of Education nor the US Environmental Protection Agency determined coal dust levels in the school. The EPA’s test was not done during normal operation of the coal plant.
*The state has the money for a new school and the Raleigh County Board of Education is willing to accept it.
*The sludge dam just 400 yards above the school holds 20 times the volume of the Buffalo Creek sludge dam disaster that killed 125 people in 1972.

More Background

Marsh Fork Elementary School sits just 225 feet from a coal loading silo that releases chemical-laden coal dust and 400 yards from a 385 foot tall leaking sludge dam with a nearly 3 billion gallon capacity. Independent studies have shown the school to be full of coal dust.

Massey Energy who owns the coal processing facility has been attempting to build a second coal processing plant near the school for years, but community opposition, action and research led the Department of Environmental Protection to reject Massey’s permit request for the second silo.

On Tuesday March 13 the state Surface Mine Board overturned the Department of Environmental Protection order that blocked the silo.
Read more here: http://tinyurl.com/ypx39z

Community members have been working for years on getting a new school for the children that attend Marsh Fork Elementary in their community so that they don’t have to breathe coal dust and toxic chemicals daily. The grandfather of a recent Marsh Fork graduate walked from West Virginia to DC to raise support for a new school and to meet with Senator Byrd to request a new school in the community. And elementary students around the world have written letters to Governor Manchin and collected pennies to help build a new school.

Find out more here:
surprise delivery of letters to Governor Manchin: http://itsgettinghotinhere.org/1033
Governor avoids meeting with children: http://itsgettinghotinhere.org/1010
Pennies of Promise launch with deliver of pennies to the capitol: http://itsgettinghotinhere.org/322
Ed’s walk from WV to DC: http://duke.securenet-server.net/~mnoerpel/pennies/blog.php
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