Victory: New School For Marsh Fork Elementary

For the past six years, the community surrounding Marsh Fork Elementary has been fighting for a new, safe elementary school – in their community. The current elementary school sits below (say it with me, folks) a multi-billion gallon toxic coal sludge dam and within 300 feet of a pollution spewing coal preparation plant owned by notorious Massey Energy.

Today – after a long week of wondering, a long month of heartbreak, and over half a decade of hard work, we found out that there will be a new, safe Marsh Fork Elementary – built in the community. Planning for the new school starts on Monday. Three potential sites have been picked out. Ground will break in the next year – and in another year after that – a new school!

Today was an incredible day – as Judy Bonds said at the press conference today, it was a victory for the entire movement for clean energy and good, local schools – it was a victory won by little kids collecting pennies all across the country, by hundreds of people – it was a victory for everyone – but especially for the kids at Marsh Fork. As Debbie Jarrell said, “The sunshine is a little brighter today in the Coal River Valley.”

During the press conference, listening to Bo Webb tell the briefest version of the work that he and others from Coal River Valley have done to get a new school, I wondered how many hundreds of people have been inspired to tell the story of Marsh Fork – via blogs, over coffee, on the Today Show, with little kids in classrooms, in documentaries, in churches, while sitting in jail, at rotary clubs, at groundhogs day luncheons, at Senators’s offices, via signs held at rallies, via t-shirts, buttons flags, and while walking briskly alongside important people.

Lots of amazing people have been sharing incredible words today. I liked what Bill Price said:

Led by the residents of the Coal River Valley, supported by environmental, community and human rights groups and celebrities, the “powers that be” were no match against dedicated and persistent people.
WAY TO GO EVERYONE. When the history of the movement against mountaintop removal is written, the victory at Marsh Fork will be remembered as a key moment. Celebrate….celebrate….power to the people!

Everyone is invited to the party at Ed and Debbie’s tonight – pork butt and wild turkey roasting right now and lots of potato salad.

And as Ed Wiley told the Governor: “Next time you need something done – you know to call me!”

Here are a few photos of the press release event:

And after the link is a highlight of some of the (just a few) of the important stops along the way to building this new school – put together by Danny Chiotos.

These are all awesome.

This is from Vivian Stockman of OVEC – following Ed on his walk to DC:

Pennies of Promise Walk to Washington Day 1:

Day 2 of Ed’s Walk to DC:

Ed Walks Some More:

Ed Gets Pennies in Paw Paw, WV:

Ed Hits the 100 Mile Mark on his Walk to DC:

Marsh Fork Elementary MJSB Protest Video 1:

Marsh Fork Elementary MJSB Protest Video 2:

6 Responses to “Victory: New School For Marsh Fork Elementary”

  1. 1 Wayne Schell May 1st, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    Our miners deserve safe working conditions and a living wage! Fight for mine safety! End mountain top removal!

  2. 2 Meg Olson May 3rd, 2010 at 11:19 pm

    Congratulations to Ed Wiley and Coal River Mountain Watch for the new school! This is truly wonderful news!

  1. 1 New School For Marsh Fork Elementary | Trackback on May 1st, 2010 at 12:11 am
  2. 2 The Understory » A Safer New School for the Children of Marsh Fork Elementary Trackback on May 1st, 2010 at 4:02 pm
  3. 3 Stand with Coalfield Residents at Appalachia Rising « It’s Getting Hot In Here Trackback on Sep 18th, 2010 at 10:29 am
  4. 4 Stand with Coalfield Residents at Appalachia Rising | Coaled Trackback on Sep 18th, 2010 at 4:50 pm
Comments are currently closed.


Follow my crafty adventures at Follow my heart for environmental justice work at

Community Picks