Senator Byrd’s powerful statement on Marsh Fork Elementary
Washington, DC – Reacting to news reports, Senator Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., today blasted Massey Energy officials for their refusal to provide assistance to efforts to replace the existing Marsh Fork Elementary School because of potential environmental dangers. The Raleigh County School is adjacent to a coal silo constructed by Massey, and sits at the foot of the company’s pond that holds back hundreds of millions of gallons of toxic coal slurry. Massey is moving forward with plans to build a second coal storage silo on their site adjacent to the Marsh Fork Elementary School, further compounding the environmental hazards for the school children nearby.
“Such arrogance suggests a blatant disregard for the impact of their mining practices on our communities, residents and particularly our children. These are children’s lives we are talking about,” said Byrd.
“If Massey were not operating near Marsh Fork Elementary, we would not be debating what to do about moving these young students someplace safer. This is not the taxpayers’ burden to remedy. This is Massey Energy’s responsibility to address.”
Byrd added that, “Let me be clear about one thing – this is not about the coal industry or their hard-working coal miners. This is about companies that blatantly disregard human life and safety because of greed. That is never acceptable.”
“At a time when coal is under such close scrutiny, coal companies operating in West Virginia should be working together to put their best foot forward. For the sake of the entire coal industry, Massey Energy should strive to be a better and more responsible corporate citizen. And for the sake of the kids, they should address these serious environmental concerns at Marsh Fork Elementary immediately.”