How Much More Proof Do We Need?

West Virginia is dealing with another coal-related toxic spill, and people are finding out the hard way about the real dangers of fossil fuels. Yesterday, news broke that the West Virginia's Department of Environmental Protection is investigating a coal slurry spill in Kanawha County. Residents are still dealing with the effects of the Freedom Industries' chemical spill that happened a month ago, and now they're learning that a broken pipe at the Kanawha Eagle Prep Plant has spewed more toxic sludge into one of their waterways.

A West Virginia DEP spokesperson told the Charleston Gazette that the slurry spill can be characterized as “significant,” although they say that there is no immediate threat to drinking water. Considering that residents are still feeling the effects of the first spill, and fighting to get complete and accurate information, it's unlikely that they're going to trust risk assessments from state officials.

According to Eco News, the coal slurry contains a chemical called Flomin 110-C, which in turn contains MCHM. That is the same chemical that contaminated the Elk River, which provides drinking water for hundreds of thousands of West Virginia Residents. This is the third coal-related spill in a single month. How much more evidence do we need before we end our addiction to fossil fuels?


leighmf's picture
leighmf 9 years 15 weeks ago

Despite our huge manuals of environmental protection laws, it is up to county, state, and federal agencies to make sure everyone is in compliance so failures and accidents won't happen. They are not doing the job.

(West Virginia is subject to the Federal Wetlands Protection Act, regardless, which includes water pollution).

I slaved for a Masters Degree to work in the field of environmental remediation of Florida wetlands. I have only had a few career projects for all my labors academically, because environmental laws and permit requirements are arbitrarily enforced. Monitoring is not performed, though it is part of a permit price. My county has collected fees for five year monitoring of projects they never see. It's somewhat like our Social Workers who lose children in the system they are supposed to be visiting.

When a large project, such as revising Port Everglades has to be mitigated because it is so obvious an impact, somewhow the big money involved by-passes we who have studied and prepared to protect and properly restore the environment and ends up in the hands of the same old rednecks who have been polluting the state for generations and wouldn't know a gopher tortoise from a gopher. What a waste of a fantastic education and the great professors who inspired me.

I would rather starve than sell-out for a "Departmental" job where I see my peers doing what they know is wrong, and looking the other way when they are told. They have benefits, paid vacations, and a lot of office birthday parties.

I finally figured out this is why my professors became professors. In academia you can teach a model for the world, but you never have to duke it out with the charlatans who have control of the dough.

sandlewould's picture
sandlewould 9 years 15 weeks ago

Thanks for reporting about the 2nd spill in W.VA, Thom...I've not heard it anywhere else. I live in N. KY...literally ON the OH river, 2 watersheds away from spill #1. After that spill, we went out and bought a 'Zero Water' filter...which supposedly filters out everything...I figure we're screwed anyway and I refuse to contribute to the millions of miles of plastic water bottles that run the circumference of the earth unless I know it will kill me. A friend of ours who is an environmentalist w/ the KY Dept. of Environ. Protection in the water Q/A dept. says W.VA basically has no regs., no standards, cause their EPA has no $$$. The power the Oiligarchs have and their desire to... well.. 'get rid of' the "riff-raff" is very frightening to me.

As I write, Thom is speaking to Bob Ney. And they are discussing the fact that congress actually passed something clean! (what a concept!) Could it be that these useful idiot neocons that the KRochs bought and installed are waking up to the fact that they won't have a seat on the Ark?...and so it goes...

sandlewould's picture
sandlewould 9 years 15 weeks ago


So sorry you have worked so hard for so little reward. I am proud of you for standing strong. I find it ironic that NC profs. in your shoes now have to duke it out w/ Duke energy...hang in...

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 9 years 15 weeks ago

sandals -- Rachael Madow -- was covering the spill plus the previous two last night (Feb 11,2014).

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 9 years 15 weeks ago

"How much more evidence do we need?"....Gondolas navigating up and down Wall Street!

johnbest's picture
johnbest 9 years 15 weeks ago

Could it be that over 30 years of Saint Raygunomics have taken their toll. Saint Raygun was against regulations of any kind and this is where we are today. Smaller government is their aim so it can be drowned in a bathtub. When Ahole Raygun was elected, I had been working for the U.S. Forest
Service as a civil engineer for 14 years in California and we took our job seriously. We hired all kinds of specialties and did endless master planning to protect the forests, the wildlife, and the water. After Saint Raygun cut our budgets to the bone, and the USFS was faced with massive layoffs of engineers and other specialties, I said to hell with it in 1986 and quit. After I left I found that they had cut out all engineers and every other specialty and pretty much ended their logging program in California. Before I quit, Saint Raygun was demanding that we privatize every damn thing you can imagine. Talk about destroying a fine branch of the Department of Agriculture. Saint Raygun obviously has done the same thing to the Department of Interior, the Bureau of Land Management, et al. In fact at one point, he wanted to sell off all federal lands to his rich friends. This disgusting act of terrorism has gone on now for over thirty years and I for one am sick of this crap.

leighmf's picture
leighmf 9 years 15 weeks ago

Thanks sandlewould- but I'm over it. It's like being a missionary- we have to look for our reward in the things in life that money can't buy.

Joe Foreman's picture
Joe Foreman 9 years 15 weeks ago

We need to stop burning stuff to generate electricity. A guy named Robert Bussard developed a new method for fusion called the "polywell". This is the same guy that designed the Tokamak test fusion reactor. The difference between the two is that the polywell fusion reactor is much closer to working (a few years at most) . The USN funded this project & as nearly as I can see, it won't take much to make it work. The reactor fuses Boron; the third most common element on Earth.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 9 years 15 weeks ago

Joe F -- Fusing boron? Are you sure? I don't think even the sun does that. On a related note, today's LA Times (feb 13, 2014) has an article about the fusion experiment at Livermore labs with 182 lasers enclosed in an area the size of 3 football fields. For 1 nanosecond they were able to have a fusion process that generated net plus energy.

ken ware's picture
ken ware 9 years 15 weeks ago

Am I missing something, isn't this the same blog that was posted yesterday? I enjoy reading Thom's blog even if I do not respond with a comment everyday. Hopefully it is a technical problem and not something serious.

This is why most of us think the Keystone pipeline is a bad idea for America, even if Kend thinks it is a good deal, we can do without the possibility of an accidental oil spill, especially when it is dirty oil, such as the shale oil from Canada. Let the Canadians risk their environment for profits. I think running the whole pipeline across Canada and ending up on the Canadian Pacific Coastline (as Kend has stated will happen) is a better idea for America, especially since most, if not all the gasoline is going to be sent to Asia. A few jobs for the American public is not a wise trade-off for the risk involved. It is the Koch brothers and others who own the refineries who will benefit from Keystone, and they could care less about our environment, if there is a profit to be made for them. K.W.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 9 years 15 weeks ago

Thom did not show up for work today, so there is no new blog. The date on this blog is yesterday's.

ken ware's picture
ken ware 9 years 15 weeks ago

chuckle8 - Thanks for the info. How did you find out he did not show up for work? I usually do not watch his show on RT, so I am out of the loop concerning his show on RT. I still do not like the ruskies and I am not so sure what is expressed on RT is not tainted by their influence. I realize they have American producers, but they can be influenced by the people who pay the bills. I guess that is my capitalist side showing. K.W.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 9 years 15 weeks ago

What would you think if your internet service provider...say Comcast or AT&T Uverse...was using your home modem/router/WiFi device to traffic WiFi to your neighbors?

"XFINITY WiFi Home Hotspot" also called "Cable WiFi" or "WiFi Everywhere" (advertized as now over 500,000 hotspots). So Comcast is now using our home Comcast cable routers to broadcast WiFi to anyone within range.. your neighbors..people in the street (as long as they are Comcast subscribers). What if a neighbor is using his WiFi laptop to download porn over your home router?

And I suspect it will eat into the bandwidth and slow down your internet activity as well..bottle-necking your bandwidth.

Right now, you can call Comcast and ask them to disable the hot spot use on your Comcast router but this may not always be possible in the future. They put these sneaky things in the fine print when you sign up.

And there is a probability that AT&T Uverse may be doing the same thing. In fact, I even wonder if plain old AT&T DSL (not Uverse) is using people's home routers WiFi connections for this as well. I have noticed some difficulty, sometimes, in doing a normal search on my home PC when I have my router WiFi turned on and have no WiFi device being actively used on the internet...just connected but not surfing. And the WiFi LED on my router is rapidly flashing like someone is heavily accessing something over WiFi. I rarely use my WiFi device and usually keep the WiFi inactive on my DSL modem/router. I had suspected a neighbor had hacked into my router and was using it...but now that I found out about Comcast and AT&T WiFi Everywhere scams I wonder. I thought I had hardened my router against access by anyone but my WiFi device using the best encryption methods and strong passwords. pages 7, 8, 9, & 10 talks about this.

By the way, last year (I think it was September)...I got a letter from AT&T Uverse with an urgent message that "At&T Uverse was updating it's equipment to fiber optics" and that in order to prevent an interuption in phone or internet service I should, within 30 days, sign up with AT&T Uverse so that I can get the needed AT&T Uverse modem/router. Well, it's been all this time and I have not had an interruption in service. I thought then that it was just marketing hype to push people into signing up with AT&T Uverse. So far, it looks like I was right!


NBC's nightly news, with Richard Engel (the international correspondent), coverage of the Olympics sent a team of so-called security experts from an anti-virus company to test how "hackable" someone would be in that country. The idea was to warn (scare) people from bringing in their electronic devices. The news piece made it look like they were in Sochi but in fact they were in Moscow..1000 miles from Sochi. They did everything imaginable to be vulnerable to being hacked. No security updates...they surfed to malicious hacker sites....had Java and Flash installed...and were probably not updated. They did everything they could to attract malware and then portrayed it as scare tactics...yellow make anyone traveling to Sochi think that they would be hacked. With everything they did, if they did it in the US, they would have gotten nearly the same results.

By the way...NBC is owned by Comcast...and has just bought out Time Leo says..."Comcast, The worst company in the world"!
The State Department issued this warning to tourists traveling to Sochi for the Olympic Games:

“Travelers should be aware that Russian Federal law permits the monitoring, retention and analysis of all data that traverses Russian communication networks, including Internet browsing, email messages, telephone calls, and fax transmissions.”

---Duh!!! You mean like exactly what the US does to all of it's citizens? What hippocrites!!! I wonder if Russia gives the same warning to it's citizens traveling to the US?

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 9 years 15 weeks ago

I found out by going to the chat room. When he is working, his name appears on the list of chatters.

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