Archived Story

Coal industry must consider community health

Published 9:38am Friday, November 23, 2012

I would like to address my fellow citizens of Ironton over a matter of public health and safety. Before I begin, I would like to submit that I am not against business or industry. However, I must, as any good citizen would do, question any business or industry whose unsafe actions endanger people.

I’m sure residents of First and Second streets have noticed trains travelling down the tracks in Ironton carrying coal. I’m sure they have noticed the black clouds of coal dust that darken the sky as the trains pass by.

However questionable and unsafe this is, it is nothing new.

What is new, however, are the mountains of coal that are sitting beside South Third Street. I hardly noticed at first. Then I noticed South Third Street was visibly darkened from the transportation of coal dust. Days later I noticed the smell of coal dust in the air whilst driving on Third Street.

Today as I arrived home from work, and even as I am writing this now, I noticed the smell of coal dust on my side of town on 11th Street.

We know it to be fact that coal dust is harmful and unhealthy. If our health and safety were a concern of the coal industry, they would be more wary in how they transport their products.

They simply are not.

They show that they have a much greater concern for making a profit than they do for the health of communities.

I concede the fact that coal is a necessity to keep our society functioning, but is it too much to ask the industry to be safer, to be cleaner, and to have a concern for the health of the communities in which it operates?

When people start seeing clouds of coal dust in the air, streets coated with fresh coal dust, and start smelling coal dust on the opposite side of town, it shows how little concern they truly have.

The fact is that something needs to change.

Eric Melvin


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