Ash Site Closure May Open McKinley’s Eyes

Morgantown Dominion Post
9 August 2012


The Little Blue coal ash pond has been ordered closed — finally.

This coal ash dump sits on the Pennsylvania-West Virginia border. As the largest coal ash pond in America, it has been leaking and polluting water for decades with truly scary toxics. The facility was never engineered to even marginal safety standards. Yet owner First Energy poured billions of gallons of toxic coal ash slurry into the pond — or should we say lake?

Now the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has ordered Little Blue closed. First Energy will have to find another way to dispose of its coal ash if they keep producing it there. And the company is required to remediate contaminated water supplies in the vicinity of the dump.

This comes as a stern rebuke to our Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va. Ever since going to Washington in 2011 McKinley has waged an unholy jihad in the service of coal ash and the companies who benefit from disposing of it cheaply and unsafely.

The congressman has made no effort to hide his loyalty to the corporations who create and must dispose of coal ash — in particular the owners of coalfired power plants — and not to the health and safety of the people he is supposed to represent.

McKinley has constantly demanded that regulators keep their hands off coal ash. He has continuously insisted that coal ash is no more dangerous than the dirt in your yard. Now Pennsylvania’s DEP and the court have made it crystal clear that, no Rep. McKinley, coal ash is dangerous stuff, and we in West Virginia deserve to have regulations in place that protect our health.

I would like to think that this decision will begin to open McKinley’s eyes to the dangers of toxic coal ash and to his compelling moral responsibility to protect his constituents’ health and safety — not his corporate cronies’ bottom lines.

Jim Sconyers
Terra Alta