The Marsh Fork Elementary School in West Virginia sits just 300 feet from a Massey Energy coal silo and “downhill from a slurry impoundment.” Massey’s plans to build a second silo are facing “protests from environmentalists and some residents over the threat of flood and claims that children are exposed to coal dust, among other things,” especially because the company is refusing to build a new school, away from the toxic chemicals. Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) is taking Massey to task for its “disregard for human life and safety“:
“Such arrogance suggests a blatant disregard for the impact of their mining practices on our communities, residents and particularly our children,” Byrd said in a statement. “These are children’s lives we are talking about.” […]
“If Massey were not operating near Marsh Fork Elementary, we would not be debating what to do about moving these young students someplace safer,” Byrd said. “This is not the taxpayers’ burden to remedy. This is Massey Energy’s responsibility to address.“
Massey has criticized Byrd’s comments, noting that the school district never asked the company for funding. (Regardless, Massey has said it has no interest in donating any money because it already “pays millions of dollars in taxes each year.”) Brad Johnson has more here on what Massey and the coal industry have really given West Virginia.