(05/24/2008)

(Hur Herald Photo)

By Bob Weaver

Massey Coal is apparently moving ahead to build a second coal silo within feet of Marsh Fork Elementary School.

An attorney for a southern West Virginia citizens group told the state Supreme Court this week that a map of a coal operation in Raleigh County tells the story.

Coal River Mountain Watch attorney Joe Lovett appeared before the High Court Wednesday asking it to consider an appeal of a lower court decision that allows for the construction of a second coal silo at the Goals Coal Prep Plant a few feet from the Marsh Fork Elementary School.

Lovett says the maps in this case show plans for the silo are outside the permitted area.

Last September A Kanawha County circuit judge upheld a ruling from the state Surface Mine Board that allows the Massey Energy subsidiary to build a second silo.

Lovett argued Wednesday the markers on the ground don't match the markers on the map.

Coal River Mountain Watch and numerous other environmental groups have been unable to convince government agencies, the courts or local citizens, most of which work for Massey, that the health and safety of children are at stake.

"Of course, we all know that having such a silo within a few feet of our children attending school is a harmful situation," said Judy Bonds of CRMW, "Now they're going to build another one."

Environmentalist Robert Kennedy, Jr., looking into a stream behind the school which catches overflow from a billion gallon sludge pond on a mountain behind the school, said "It's hard to understand the lack of concern over how few living things can survive in this water."

Lovett urged the justices to come down on the side of the children at nearby Marsh Fork Elementary, saying, "I would ask the court to weigh the legal issues in a way to protect the school children."

The Supreme Court will vote whether to further consider the appeal.

See Crimes Against West Virginia...


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