The newest Dog and Pony show by the corrupt politicians and coal industry is being held at the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Marsh Fork Elementary School. These are the men that admittedly and publicly lobby for pollution laws to be lessened, who are in favor of Mountain Top Removal coal strip mining, and aren’t interested in funding or recognizing health studies. These are the men who ignore their constituents when it does not benefit the coal industry. Now, unbelievably, the local activists that donated their time and money, as well as enduring arrests, threats, and physical violence to make this happen for their children have not been invited to speak, or even attend the groundbreaking ceremony.
Had it not been for Bo Webb, Ed Wiley, Judy Bonds, and many, many others, there would be no new school. Then Governor Manchin ignored their pleas initially, even when told that the children were suffering breathing difficulties and other ailments from coal dust and microscopic blasting debris, as well as being forced to attend a school at the base of a leaking 6 billion gallon slurry dam. Only when Ed Wiley walked from Charleston to Washington, DC., and found the ear of the Late Senator Byrd, did something begin to happen. Even still, the total cost of the school was not going to be covered by the State of West Virginia, or Massey Energy – the owner of the mines, slurry ponds, and MTR site that caused the illnesses. (Massey Energy by the way, was the coal company allegedly responsible for the deaths of 29 miners just three miles down the road from the original school due to mine safety negligence – now sold to Alpha Natural Resources). Finally, in response to the activists work, the Annenberg Foundation came up with the additional money proposed to make it happen.
The Marsh Fork Elementary School is funded through the Raleigh County School Board ($3.53 million); Alpha Natural Resources ($1.5 million); Annenberg Foundation ($2.5 million); the School Building Authority of West Virginia ($3.146 million); and Pennies for Promises, Coal River Mountain Watch ($11,000).
Now these selfless people who continue to stand up for their community and children are not invited.
Maybe it’s a good thing. Who would want to stand around with menacing, mean, greedy, self important, corrupt representatives of these political and coal concerns that really don’t give a flying fart in the wind about the people of the Coal River Valley. It’s just another photo opportunity to look caring, and generous. Frankly, given the fact that they only participated once they had no choice, goes to show where their black coal hearts are in this matter.
No matter whether anyone is subsequently invited to be there or not, the people of the Coal River Valley know who really made this happen. That’s all that really matters. Thank you, and you know who you are. You don’t need recognition because God knows, and your hearts are stronger for it.