Condemn Coal Company for Environmental Destruction

Coal Ash Dump - Richard Web - Geograph

Target: Mr. Bennett Hatfield, President and CEO of Patriot Coal

Goal: Condemn coal company for spilling 108,000 gallons of coal slurry into the local waterways

Patriot Coal spilled over 100,000 gallons of coal slurry into Fields Creek in West Virginia, blackening over 6 miles of waterways with coal waste and impacting the Kanawha River system. The slurry ran from a broken pipe for nearly 3 hours before Patriot detected the problem and turned off the pump. Condemn Patriot Coal for this environmental disaster and slow response to the problem.

Coal slurry is a mix of coal ash, rocks, toxins, and heavy metals that are blended with water to make them cheaper to transport and handle, increasing the potential damage of a spill. When a seal failed on a slurry pipe owned by Patriot Coal, the alarm system also failed. As a result, it took them nearly 3 hours to realize there was a problem and turn off the pump to stop the flow of slurry into a nearby creek. It was a few more hours before they informed the government and cleanup efforts were able to start. Officials are estimating it could take two weeks to clean up the spill.

This isn’t Patriot Coal’s first spill. This same facility had coal slurry spills in 2013 and in 2010. The non-profit group Appalachian Voices describes Fields Creek as being nearly black with significant sediment buildup on the banks. The spill is expected to destroy most of the fish and wildlife in the affected part of the creek.

Tell Bennett Hatfield, President of Patriot Coal, that these spills are not acceptable and to clean up his act.


Dear Mr. Hatfield,

Recently Patriot Coal spilled over 100,000 gallons of coal slurry, a toxic mix of coal ash, heavy metals, rocks, and water, into Fields Creek in West Virginia. The ruptured pipe went undetected when the alarm system failed and pumped this toxic slurry into the creek for nearly three hours before the pump was shut off. This is not an isolated incident for your company, which had coal slurry spills in 2013 and 2010. The water in the six miles of creek affected by the spill are described as nearly black in color with significant buildup of sentiment on the banks. This type of spill will wipe out the fish and wildlife in those areas of the creek and part of the Kanawha River.

This continued disregard for the environment is unacceptable. Your company has had three coal slurry spills in the last four years and does not seem to take the safety of the surrounding environment seriously. You are poisoning the water in West Virginia and it must stop.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Richard Web via Geograph

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