An 18- member coalition in West Virginia released a statement this afternoon in response to the chemical spill that left nine counties without clean drinking water.
The coalition is pressuring the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement to replace their current mining regulation program with a much stricter one. Read an excerpt from their statement below.
“My father, a retired coal miner, was recently diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and underwent major surgery. This water emergency has made his care more difficult. We need water to keep him cleaned and to prepare meals. Clean, accessible water is a necessity,” reported Boone County Resident, Dustin White.
The CARE Campaign is petitioning the federal Office of Surface Mining (OSM) to intervene in the WV DEP to ensure safe drinking water, air, and communities for West Virginia Residents. On December 30th OSM stated that they will be investigating 5 of the 19 issues raised in the petition, and the campaign will be continuing it’s efforts ensuring that the WV DEP is held accountable for it’s failure to protect citizens of the state. A CARE Campaign Partner and West Virginia Resident, Mary Ann Hitt of the Sierra Club, issued the following statement :
“Our thoughts are with the more than 300,000 people in West Virginia affected by this toxic chemical spill. [The spill] occurred upstream from the largest drinking water source in West Virginia.”
As clean up continues in the coming days the CARE Campaign will be standing with WV residents for clean water, and real regulatory enforcement.
The 18 partners of the CARE Campaign include: Appalachian Catholic Worker; Appalachian Voices; Catholic Committee of Appalachia; Center for Biological Diversity; Center for Health, Environment & Justice; Christians for the Mountains; Coal River Mountain Watch; Earthjustice; Keeper of the Mountains Foundation; League of Women Voters of West Virginia; Mountain Health and Heritage Association; National Wildlife Federation; Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition; Sierra Club; West Virginia Citizen Action; West Virginia Environmental Council; West Virginia Highlands Conservancy; and West Virginia Rivers Coalition.