Rally at Massey Plant May 31st Protests Danger to School
150 people gathered at the entrance to Massey Goals Coal processing plant at Sundial, West Virginia, on May 31, 2005, to protest the dangerous and disruptive operations. Marsh Fork Elementary School lies in the shadow of the plant with coal dust and associated hazardous toxins permeating the building and playground.
Looming high over the school a quarter mile away is a dammed up coal sludge pond containing 2.8 billion gallons of arsenic, cadmium, and mercury laden sludge.
A new preparation silo has recently been approved for construction by the WV Department of Environmental Protection that will lie closer than the legal limits of 300 feet from a school. According to the DEP, the law does not apply since the original permit was in place before that law was passed.
A Letter was prepared to present to management of the plant. Access was refused. Several were arrested for trespassing, a nonviolent civil disobedience, and the first such action in this movement against the abuses of mountaintop removal, dangerous coal slurry impoundments, and coal preparation plants that posed air pollution hazards such as the one adjacent to Marsh Fork Elementary School. CFTM Steering Committee member Mary Ellen O'Farrell was one of the arrestees.
Although still in the process of forming, several persons associated with Christians For The Mountains were involved in the gathering. Allen Johnson was invited to lead an opening prayer. The hymn “Amazing Grace” was sung afterward. A number of persons present identified themselves as Christians interested in the new organization.
A series of rallies are going on this summer to protest egregious mining operations abuses, sponsored by Mountain Justice Summer. Christians For The Mountains supports non-violent, civil action to draw attention to the plight of communities and their associated ecosystems caught destructive mining practices.
In the Bible, Isaiah 58:1 says to “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and declare unto my people their transgression, and to the house of Jacob their sins.” This gathering and others like it this summer are “crying out loudly and not mincing words” to get the attention of the conscience of America.