Removing dust from the home has never been easier. Countless products have eased its elimination and slowed its return. From Swiffers to cutting-edge vacuum cleaners and other devices, dust has seemingly met its match.
However, another type of dust located in West Virginia remains a clear and present danger, particularly for residents of a small Raleigh County mining town.
The negative impact of mining operations
On the north side of Eunice is the Black Eagle underground mine owned by Marfolk’s Coal Company. In operation since 2018, the dust, powered by loud ventilation fans, spreads throughout the community. Pictures falling from the walls and damaged foundations in homes throughout the area were the least of their neighbors’ worries.
The townspeople are left with two options. Force the parent company, Alpha Metallurgical Resources, to pay them to move or find ways to reduce the continuing influx of coal dust. To date, no one from the organization has reached out to them to resolve the potentially deadly problem.
The residents’ valid concerns go beyond a pair of mining permit violations since the mine started operations three years ago. Marfolk, along with fellow subsidiary Republic Energy, already has an extensive history of permit violations numbering close to 350 over the course of more than three decades.
Meanwhile, permit applications to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) continue to be approved. The problem is not going away anytime soon. Area residents continue to deal with the hazards that could eventually lead to black lung and other serious illnesses. Tragically, their ongoing pleas continue to fall on deaf ears.