Residents have discovered that they are not “most Americans.” – Ralph Preece, resident of Holden, WV
Water is a resource most Americans take for granted. However, due to the pollution from mountain top removal in West Virginia, residents of the state have discovered that they are not “most Americans.”
A warm shower in the morning or a hot bath to relax after a long day are luxuries that several residents of Riffe Branch and Duncan Fork, West Virginia were not allotted in 2000 and 2001. Some residents say that due to Massey Energy’s Delbarton Mining operation, the local water taps ran dry. In an attempt to pacify the water loss, Massey Mining provided and filled water tanks for residents. In almost all cases, the water tanks were occasionally empty and inconveniently located outside of victims’ homes.
Riffe Branch and Duncan Fork are not the only two communities forced to fight mountain top removal for water. In Holden, West Virginia there is an abundance of water, but daily dehydration in Holden is not cured with a cold refreshing glass of tap water. The water in Holden is not for drinking. Due to acid mine drainage, the water in Holden is orange.
“At least one well has gone dry. Others just have bad water. One neighbor has water that smells terrible,” said longtime Holden resident, Ralph Preece. “Another family was sick for a year. Once they started drinking bottled water, they got better.”
Many residents of the above communities have exhausted their options for dismantling the destructive mining operations. Help is needed to put an end to mountain top removal.
“I know they are going to mine, and we probably aren’t going to stop that. The powers that be are going to let them. But they should be held responsible,” said Preece.
Summary contributed by Angie Delynn Ryan courtesy of Appalachian Voices.