On 4 October, 2010, a reservoir holding millions of gallons of toxic sludge from an alumina plant in Kolontar, Hungary burst, sending this caustic waste flowing through fields, towns and homes. You can see pictures here, and read about it here and here. The plant has re-opened (of course), but people haven't been able to move back home; and if history is any guide, I don't think people should be living there anymore, and definitely shouldn't be drinking the water or eating food grown off of the land.
"Next Tuesday, production will be up to full capacity," the new manager of the facility says...
The Story just ran a show yesterday in which Dick Gordon talked to two residents, Mickey and Nina McCoy of Inez, Kentucky, where a reservoir holding toxic slurry from the Martin County Coal Mine burst this week, ten years ago this week, releasing 300 million gallons of sludge into the land and watershed. (Mickey went to a field recently, stuck his shovel in the ground, and there, three inches deep, he found the sludge, ten years later.) They immediately got involved in the battle to have the government and Massey Energy (the parent company of Martin County Coal) take responsibility for what happened. The EPA soon thereafter said that the water was safe to drink, but it later emerged that the coal companies were the ones that had done the testing on the water supplies, with the EPA just signing off on the tests. Jack Spadaro, of the US Mine Safety and Health Administration, was one of the only government officials that raised alarm about the issue, citing criminal negligence on the part of Massey Energy. Of course, Spadaro was forced out of his job. This is when the Bush administration decided to have regulatory agencies, like the EPA, forge closer connections with industry.When the McCoys went to a town hall meeting where a coal industry executive was present, the executive told them, "Coal mining is dirty business." What he actually meant was, "Coal mining is dirty business. Get used to it. You are just going to have to sacrifice your landscape."
How much are we to sacrifice our land, water and air to those that don't care? At the same time, we would hope that our elected (and appointed) officials stand up to abuse and injustice, but how are we to trust them? We must put the trust in ourselves. Indeed, we must sacrifice...sacrifice our dependence on people who show contempt and disrespect to those of us that care about more than money.