Introducing Patriot Coal, Your New Favorite Ironically Named Company That’s Ruining West Virginia
Whatever happened with that Freedom Industries water-poisoning incident? All fixed? No? That's depressing and predictable. What else ya got for us, West Virginia? … Oh come on! "Patriot Coal" this time? Apparently Patriot Coal this time:
About 108,000 gallons of slurry waste from washing coal spilled into Fields Creek from the Kanawha Eagle Prep Plant near Winifrede, West Virginia’s Department of Environmental Protection said yesterday in an e-mailed statement.
Here is a picture of a 100,000 gallon tank, and a person:
Now imagine that tank (update: actually, this much larger tank is more like it) is filled with "coal slurry," which is a gunk made of ground up coal and rocks and water, and then imagine some deity -- call her Deregula, goddess of the Free Market -- breaking open that tank like a kid snapping a crayon and dumping all of its contents, plus 8,000 more gallons, into a pretty little creek. Then imagine a sexual encounter with your favorite celebrity (Joe Biden), because you earned it.
Here are some photos of the affected creek. Apparently they're using bales of hay to soak up the sludge. Better than nothing? We remember turning over rocks in creeks like that as a kid and marveling at all the weird invertebrates and tiny fishes that lived there. Those guys are probably not having such a nice time right now, which double sucks because they're food for bigger stuff. Sorry bigger stuff, hope you like poisoned food!
We were already skeptical that the increasingly absurd Freedom Industries disaster wasn't just some Oscar bait movie pitch. Now we are beginning to suspect that our entire reality is just an elaborate prank, an eleven-dimensional Random Disaster Caused By Ironically Named Company Generator. What is next, an airborne toxic event caused by a black hole at God Bless America Acid Co., a subsidiary of Don’t Tread On Me Horror Poisons, Inc.?
Finally, your Call To Action! With a total workforce of 15,913 employees, the US Environmental Protection Agency was smaller in FY 2013 than it has been in any year since 1989, when they had 14,370. The US population has grown almost 27% during that period, so the agency is effectively much smaller than it was over two decades ago.
At the same time, there's a marked asymmetry in the political rhetoric the EPA inspires. We don't recall a single Republican presidential candidate last cycle that didn't muse about either neutering the EPA or abolishing it altogether. Where are the Democrats on this? Who is calling out this insanity for what it is: Naked, damn-the-consequences pandering to planet-fucking corporations and extreme-right paranoids? Saying you want to abolish the EPA should disqualify you from holding office. Democrats need to be saying that, because guess what -- America agrees!
No, a bigger, better-funded, more empowered EPA won't magically stop every accident. But it would be a heck of a start, so let's get started.
Really finally, because we love you, kittens:
follow Alex on Twitter. It's more fun than a barrel of coal slurry.