This week and late last, people and organizations across West Virginia and the country have been responding to the water crisis. Coal River Mountain Watch, The Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, Keepers of the Mountains, Appalachian Voices, Aurora Lights, other Alliance for Appalachia member groups and people-led institutions across the state have been responding through relief efforts, legislative visits, media work–you name it.
Some folks have had their water turned on at this point–but it still remains undrinkable. Exposure to the water (and it’s fumes) has put hundreds in the hospital and there is no clear timeline for if/when these 300,000 residents will be able to safely drink from their taps or shower in their homes. This lack of certainty is magnified by both conflicting claims from authorities and the fact that so little is known about the chemical with regard to health impacts or how it interacts with other systems.
Of course, this story is part of the much larger story of the coal, chemical, and gas industries doing dangerous, unregulated business in the Appalachian region for decades. You can help!