The threats posed by coal ash are well known today, but not too long ago, the dangers of coal ash disposal were a dirty energy secret.
For a large section of residents in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, the dangers of coal ash were kept a secret, and in their place the dirty energy industry fed them promises of a luscious, green and blue landscape that they could enjoy with their families. All they had to do was sign off on a coal ash dump in their area.
The energy company was First Energy, and a new short film by EarthJustice exposes the lies and the resulting impacts that their coal ash dump had on local communities.
The whole film, titled “Little Blue: A Broken Promise,” can be viewed here:
The story in the film is saddening and infuriating. Coal representatives were sent door-to-door in areas of West Virginia and Pennsylvania, where they made outlandish promises to citizens. Residents near Little Blue stream were promised by First Energy that a nearby coal ash disposal site would form a concrete-like barrier in the earth, creating a beautiful lake that residents would be able to use at their leisure.
Almost immediately after the company began dumping coal ash at the disposal site, residents noticed strange smells, breathing problems, and a strange color in the stream.
Like most other communities with coal ash dumps, the ones in the film are middle to lower income neighborhoods. This is a common practice among the dirty energy industry. EarthJustice has a website available that tracks both operating and retired coal ash disposal sites, and which ones have been verified to have contaminated the local environment.