Archives of Horror and Hope

Appalachian Coal serves electric companies 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.PLEASE read this writing with the lights out.....

Sometimes all day long I collect horror stories like an archivist of hopes for change this horror story is of a coal company that pumped coal slurry into an abandoned mine of a mountain town the slurry is now in the water and the land and the bodies the bodies of the people today's calls yield: barren women babies with cancer and their sons their sons have arsenic in their blood on this day they are counted in the costs of how coal keeps the lights on when the water turned the colors were many orange brown black grey

but in between it sometimes runs clear again and the smell sometimes like fuel sometimes indescribable and you think you'd never wash in it but at some point you have to wash yourself and your children and yes your babies if this is the only water you can afford at some point you have to drink it and be thankful for the Kool-Aid flavors swirling in your cup this call yields three little ones dead everyone knows it was the water we hope we can prove it some things will be easier to prove than others tumors removed ovaries removed gallbladders removed kidney stones and kidney stones and kidney stones again then there are the cysts cysts everywhere in the bones on the neck on the ovaries on the thyroid and her daughter had a cyst in her brain pretty positive it's the poison in the water don't forget the skin rashes, boils open sores, blistering skin, itching skin it comes and it goes nothing seems to stop it but it started with the poison in the water it will be harder to prove the poison took their teeth teeth rotting from the inside out teeth dying so fast it's as if they are trying to escape the poison on their own we know they will blame the soda but everyone here knows it's the poison in the water it will likely be hardest to prove the heart problems heart attacks, heart stints, half the heart is enlarged, all his arteries smaller than they should be and the blood pressure, the blood pressure, the blood pressure again

but heart attacks are pretty common in the U.S. even if everyone knows it's the poison in the water sometimes people list their illnesses throwing jokes in between laughing about how crazy that last boil was they tell their illnesses like a tall tale that happened to someone else they are survivors lovers, parents, friends, children but sometimes you can hear how sick they are the sadness seeps into the phone and we both get off quickly because the tears are coming despite all the sickness and trouble heart and otherwise the hearts here are stronger than one could imagine beating against poison and often poverty they know about fighting here fighting for your life often uncertain if the illness will take them most know today counts so they take care of each other and live and love and laugh with or without you they've got heart i'm waiting on the heart of coal to change to practice respect for the people who give their lives to it and live with it like another family member it costs one dollar more a ton for coal companies to never again create coal slurry yet still they wash the coal in our water and a host of other poisons that poison washes into the lives of the people here while distanced from the mountains people turn on the lights like electricity is magic and it is a magic in forgetting that electricity comes from somewhere everywhere you go and for that the people in the mountains often pay a very high cost sometimes they pay with their lives

When you turn the lights on, think about asking your electric company if the coal plants that serve them create coal slurry, and think about asking them why. By the time the lawsuit we're working on is settled, more people will have died from the poison in the water created by coal slurry and lots more will be even sicker. Coal companies that aren't injecting slurry into the ground often are damming it up in pools in somebody else's hometown.

Coal companies have the technology to do what's called dry caking to process coal, which does not involve the same type of poisons in coal production or utilize clean water to create coal slurry. Please tell your electric company you want no part of electricity that involves slurry creation.

Contributor's biography:

Katherine Lautar is currently working as a legal assistant in the coalfields of southern West Virginia with a law firm whose principal focus is defending communities against illegal environmental practices. She recently graduated with a Masters of Science from the Audubon Expedition Institute, a unique program where students are required to live outside while studying the environment. Her other work experience includes more than 13 years as a community organizer and educator in Baltimore, Maryland. Her work is based in the belief that another world is possible.