Marsh Fork Elementary School Will Escape the Mass of Toxic Coal Sludge Marsh Fork Elementary School Will Escape the Mass of Toxic Coal Sludge
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Marsh Fork Elementary School Will Escape the Mass of Toxic Coal Sludge

by Ben Jervey

May 14, 2010

Awhile back, I ranted on about how I was haunted by this photo of Marsh Fork Elementary School in Sundial, West Virginia, sitting as it is vulnerable beneath a giant toxic coal slurry pond and nextdoor to a coal-dust-spewing loading silo. 

Well, some very good news: Supporters of the school have raised enough money to move it, with most of the funds coming from the Annenberg Foundation. Suppposedly Charles Annenberg first learned of the school's precarious position when visiting the state after the Upper Big Branch disaster, and almost immediately drummed up $2.5 million from his family's foundation. Kudos, good sir. 

The balance of the project's $8.6 million cost has already been committed by the state's School Building Authority ($2.6 million). Massey Energy, which is responsible for the slurry pond and the loading silo that are forcing the move, is reluctantly coughing up about $1 million, which begs the question: Why does it come down to the generosity of a private citizen and foundation when there's a wildly profitable company (with revenues in the $700 million per year ballpark) that is immediately responsible for the problem?  Three cheers for Annenberg. Shame, shame, shame (yet again) on Massey.

 

Ben Jervey More Info

Ben is a writer and editor covering climate change, energy, and environment, and is currently the Climate and Energy Media Fellow at Vermont Law School. He was the original Environment Editor at GOOD Magazine and his work has appeared regularly in National Geographic News, Grist, DeSmogBlog, and OnEarth. He recently worked with the non-profit Focus the Nation to publish an Energy 101 primer. When living in New York City, he wrote a book, The Big Green Apple, on how to live a lower impact life in the city. A bicycle enthusiast, Ben has ridden across the United States and through much of Europe.
Some recent articles by Ben Jervey:
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Marsh Fork Elementary School Will Escape the Mass of Toxic Coal Sludge