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SamoneLenior View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (3) Thanks(3)   Quote SamoneLenior Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 12 2014 at 8:45am

Angry West Virginia Residents Protest Bills For Contaminated Water

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By Jonathan Wolfe, Mon, February 10, 2014

Hundreds of West Virginia residents gathered over the weekend to protest their water bill charges since the January 9 chemical spill that left thousands of homes with contaminated water.

The spill contaminated the Elk River with 10,000 gallons of crude MCHM, a chemical mixture used in the coal production process. MCHM is toxic if ingested. The spill left 300,000 West Virginians with poisonous brown liquorice-scented water. 

West Virginia American Water, the water company presiding over the region, told customers they would receive either a 1,000 or 2,000 gallon credit on their next bill. The credit is meant to make up for the estimated 500-1,000 gallons it takes residents to flush out their homes' piping systems.

Not only did many residents not receive the credit, they also found themselves billed for hundreds of gallons of water they say were never used.

Charleston resident Patrick Lawson received a bill on Friday saying he used 600 gallons of water in the past six days. Lawson said this is impossible, given that he has barely used any water at all since the spill.

“They are claiming I have used 600 gallons in the past 6 days, and that I don’t have any leaks,” he said. “This also means my sewage bill will go up, due to it being figured by your water usage. It is becoming painfully obvious that I’m in a no-win situation, if I don’t pay the bill they shut off my water. They leave the burden of proof on the homeowner.”

The West Virginia Citizen Action Group is also accusing West Virginia American Water of charging it for water it never used. The group’s water bill last January was for 1,700 gallons. This January, it was billed for 1,800 gallons. Director Brooke Drake says this simply isn’t possible – the group has avoided using its water after state officials said even the recommended flushes might not work.

“They can’t tell us we’ve been using that much water,” Drake said.

Dissatisfied customers got back at their water company by giving them a taste of their own medicine: a bill.

During a Saturday protest, hundreds of residents billed West Virginia American Water for expenses they’ve been forced to pay since the spill. The expenses include the cost of bottled water they’ve had to buy, transportation costs to buy the water, and earnings lost while businesses were closed because of the spill.

On Thursday, delegate Larry Faircloth asked West Virginia American Water President Jeff McIntyre about his company’s decision to bill customers for water used since contamination.

"Have you ever gone to a restaurant and gotten a bad meal and complained about it?" Faircloth asked. "They don't give you a credit, you typically don't have to pay for it. Do you really believe it's fair to bill your customers?"


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SamoneLenior View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (3) Thanks(3)   Quote SamoneLenior Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 12 2014 at 8:46am

Daring Protesters Shut Down Obama Backed Strip Mine In West Virginia

Posted: 07/28/2012 6:33 pm
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Ramping up renewed efforts to end mountaintop removal mining in central Appalachia, scores of protesters staged a daring action at the controversial Hobet strip mine today in Lincoln County, West Virginia, shutting down operations through a series of coordinated lock downs, tree-sits and banner drops. In a symbolic challenge to the Obama administration's failed regulatory policies, the protest targeted the Hobet mountaintop removal mine, which had been granted a widely denounced permit over two years ago.

According to RAMPS, a West Virginia-based grassroots groups that organized the "mountain mobilization" protest as part of a nationwide summer of actions against devastating extraction industry operations, St. Louis-based mine owner Patriot Coal has left behind a legacy of destruction in coal country for both area residents and miners. Patriot filed for bankruptcy earlier this month, which could also affect pension and United Mine Workers of America union contracts.

"The government has aided and abetted the coal industry in evading environmental and mine safety regulations. We are here today to demand that the government and coal industry end strip mining, repay their debt to Appalachia, and secure a just transition for this region," said Dustin Steele of Matewan, West Virginia, in a released statement. The son and grandson of union coal miners, Steele took part in one of the truck lockdowns.


2012-07-28-hobet2.png

Protesters at Hobet mine in Lincoln County. Photo courtesy of RAMPS campaign.

Citing the mounting evidence of the health and humanitarian crises in the coalfields from toxic mining fallout, including a rise in black lung disease and links to birth defects and cancer, the protesters also stationed banners on the mine site: "Coal Leaves, Cancer Stays."

"The coal companies are poisoning our water and air, and they're treating the workers no better than the land -- fighting workplace health and safety protections to get the most out of labor as they can," said Junior Walk, a former coal company employee from nearby Whitesville, West Virginia, who won the 2011 Brower Youth Award for his environmental activism.

Protesters also called on the Obama administration and regional politicians to launch more sustainable job training and coalfield regeneration projects.

Coal mining residents have pleaded for basic civil rights and environmental protection for years, with more than 20 peer-reviewed studies suggesting higher risks and links between reckless strip mining and devastating health impacts, including birth defects, cancer and chronic heart, lung and kidney disease. (A recent report noted that strip miners are even subjected to unacceptable levels of black lung disease.)

A bill, the ACHE Act, calling for an emergency moratorium on mountaintop removal mining was recently introduced into Congress.

For updates on the protests and arrests, follow RAMPS campaign.

An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that the Hobet mine was in Boone County. It is located in Lincoln County.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (3) Thanks(3)   Quote SamoneLenior Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 12 2014 at 8:47am

rotesters take demand for clean water to WV Capitol

Posted: Jan 30, 2014 2:10 PM EST Updated: Jan 30, 2014 3:41 PM EST
By Jim Ross - email

It started with a Boone County man not being allowed to take West Virginia American Water Co. tap water into the state Capitol Jan. 30 because security didn't know for sure what the orange liquid was.

It ended with petitions being given to a representative of Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and Senate President Jeff Kessler, D-Marshall, promising that never again would a tank spill contaminate the water of so many West Virginians.

In between, about 60 people protested what they see as inadequate legislation and enforcement of laws to protect drinking water.

Protestors aimed their anger at the chemical industry in light of the Jan. 9 spill in Charleston, at the coal industry over mountaintop removal mining, at the gas drilling industry over hydraulic fracturing and at state officials who they say do not do enough to protect the health of West Virginians.

Dustin White said his father lives in southern Boone County, and his tap water recently turned orange and smells of chemicals. When he tried to enter the Capitol with a gallon jug and a 16-ounce bottle filled with orange liquid, security officers escorted him out the door and told him he would be arrested if he tried to bring the water into the Capitol again.

After conferring with security, Delegate Mike Manypenny, D-Taylor, went outside and accepted the gallon jug from White.

Manypenny promised to take the water to his office and send it to the Board of Public Health for analysis

"This is outrageous," he told White.

The early part of the protest at the Capitol was for people holding signs to stand in the hallway outside the House of Delegates chamber. One of those people was the Rev. Melvin Hoover of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Charleston.

"I think we're killing our state," Hoover said. "Who wants to move to a poisoned state? What families want to live here? We love West Virginia, and we want to take the state back for its people."

Hoover said his water at home smelled of crude MCHM — the chemical that got into the Charleston water supply — the morning of the protest. He fears now that the worst part of the water emergency is over, state officials and others will forget about it and move on to other things.

After the protest outside the House of Delegates chamber, people moved to the area outside the governor's office. Johanna de Graffenreid, campaign coordinator for WV CARE (Citizen Action for Real Enforcement), said she was pleased with the turnout.

"We know that there are thousands of West Virginians who were not able to make it today who are represented by the people who are here in the Capitol," she said.

She said she had petitions signed by 2,000 state residents urging Tomblin to intervene in the Department of Environmental Protection's regulatory activities and require it to enforce laws.

Jim Kotcon, conservation chair of the West Virginia Sierra Club, told his fellow protestors, "Tell your legislators we want a stronger bill. No more loopholes."

Although Tomblin did not meet with the protestors, Kessler walked to the middle of the circle and addressed them.

"I'm here to pledge to you today something like this will never happen again," he said.

Facilities such as the Freedom Industries tank farm will be identified, will be inventoried and will be required to provide appropriate notification, Kessler said.

He also said there needs to be a thorough investigation of what happened Jan. 9.

Eventually, protestors were allowed into Tomblin's outer office, where they handed Becky Neal, executive aide to the governor, their petitions.


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SamoneLenior View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (3) Thanks(3)   Quote SamoneLenior Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 12 2014 at 8:48am


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (6) Thanks(6)   Quote ShadyLady Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 12 2014 at 8:49am
Originally posted by bindy bindy wrote:

If the west Virginian's don't care then why should we? 

I don't see any of those 300,000 people with the "poison" water protesting or anything.


There are babies who can't eat cuz their parents can't make formula. That's as good a reason as any.

Humanity and compassion are pretty good reasons too.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote yurika975 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 12 2014 at 10:04am
I feel bad for them but how is it the President's fault?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (3) Thanks(3)   Quote tatee Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 12 2014 at 10:11am
Originally posted by bindy bindy wrote:

If the west Virginian's don't care then why should we? 

I don't see any of those 300,000 people with the "poison" water protesting or anything.


you ever find yourself gasping for air because your brain forgot to tell your body to breathe?LOL


Edited by tatee - Feb 12 2014 at 12:26pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote sexyandfamous Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 12 2014 at 12:16pm
How could they charge those people for water they are not even using?
This is wrong, I wonder how they lived a whole month without water - no showers, no drinkable water at home, just toilet flushingDead
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ThoughtCouture Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 12 2014 at 12:58pm
for future reference...Stern Smile
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ThoughtCouture Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 12 2014 at 1:12pm
and if all you got is dirty water, 2 bowls (one big one small), a lil plastic wrap, a rock and the sun....
 
 
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