By the Associated Press
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A Raleigh County grandfather arrived in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, ending a 455-mile walk to draw attention to pollution near Marsh Fork Elementary School.
Ed Wiley, 49, met with Sen. Robert C. Byrd after arriving in the nation’s capital. He planned to meet with Rep. Nick Rahall as well.
Wiley left Charleston on Aug. 2 to raise awareness about the school’s location next door to a coal refuse pond and preparation plant. He also hoped to build public support to build a new school in a different location.
Wiley represents a local fundraising campaign called Pennies of Promise, which has said a new school would cost $5 million.
The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection has twice denied Goals Coal Co.’s application to build a second coal silo next to the elementary school.
The Massey Energy subsidiary wants to build a 168-foot-tall silo 260 feet from the school. But those plans drew protests last year because of concerns over student health and the environment. Richmond, Va.-based Massey operates an identical silo, built-in 2003, just 225 feet from the school.
The silo stores coal and loads rail cars 150 feet from school grounds. After loading, the operation sprays a binding agent over the coal.