West Virginia approves Massey silo permit

DESPITE opposition, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has approved an application filed by Massey Energy to build a second silo neighbouring an elementary school. In addition, the Department renewed Massey’s permit for a sludge pond near the school, saying it met the technical requirements.

Staff Reporter

State governor Joe Manchin, however, has instructed his senior staff members to meet with DEP, Department of Health and Human Resources, and the state Office of Miners’ Health, Safety and Training to discuss the safety of the school’s students and residents living in the area, according to a statement.

Anti-coal activists have staged several rallies on Massey property to fight the company’s plans and to attempt to deliver other demands pertaining to pollution and the aesthetics of the area. A total of twenty people have been arrested protesting Massey’s Goals Coal operation, including two this week at the company’s headquarters in Richmond, Virginia.

“We feel stabbed in the back by politics as usual in West Virginia,” said Bo Webb of Coal River Mountain Watch, one of the anti-mountaintop removal activist groups.

"We've been hoodwinked. Governor Manchin was well aware of our concerns for those kids after our meeting with him last week.

“Apparently he wasn’t concerned enough to have the DEP hold off on issuing the permit,” Webb continued. “Now he has scheduled a meeting to ‘review possible safety concerns’ at the school a week after the permit is approved.”

“We've worked hard fighting this permit from day one,” said Julia Bonds of Coal River Mountain Watch. “Over fifty people testified against this permit at the DEP’s hearing. But, as always, the DEP ignored the people’s concerns and rubber-stamped the permit.”

Webb and Bonds were both arrested for trespassing onto Massey property May 24 during one of the groups’ rallies at the Goals Coal site.