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Letters by Sarah Vekasi
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January 21, 2014


Dearest friends,

            I am writing again with a reminder to please continue hold all of our friends and neighbors in West Virginia in your hearts as they are still without safe and reliable water in nine counties, as well as in the coal communities which have been long struggling with water pollution problems.

            Please light a candle tonight around sundown in solidarity with WV and honor our vital relationship with water. The mainstream media is still by and large ignoring this ongoing crisis, so by participating in a worldwide vigil we can let the 300,000 West Virginian’s that they are not alone and we have not forgotten what is going on.

If you are willing, take a photo and send a message to photos@ourwaterwv.org so the photos can be shared online at http://www.flickr.com/photos/watervigils/.

To remind yall: it has been nearly two weeks now since (at least) 7,500 gallons of the coal-chemical crude MCHM stored at Freedom Industries plant on the Elk River just above the water intake for West Virginia American Water. There was an immediately ban on all water use, which has been lifted with the serious exception for pregnant women. However, the coal-chemical odor is still omnipresent in the water, and most West Virginian’s do not trust that it is safe, and no wonder! The same politicians such as Senator Manchin and Governor Tomblin who have long called for an end to government regulation, an end of EPA oversight, and stopped funding for existing regulations, are the same ones saying that the water is safe. (Ugh!)

Existing environmental groups such as the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, Coal River Mountain Watch, RAMPS, Aurora Lights, and more have been working tirelessly through a newly created WV Clean Water Hub to deliver clean water to the smaller communities hit hard by this national disaster. They will be gathered together in Charleston, WV tonight for a vigil, as well as throughout the state since the weather is bad and we all have a bundle of snow. The Red Cross and FEMA have ceased distributing water in many areas claiming that the water is “safe,” but it is still causing skin rashes, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and who knows what all long term effects.

If you are willing to make a tax-deductible donation toward water relief efforts, please contribute online at http://www.ecochaplaincy.net/donate.html with WV Water Crisis in the memo, or in the mail at Eco-Chaplaincy Initiative, PO Box 1114, Black Mountain, NC 28711, and please light a candle tonight and let our friends in West Virginia know that we are together in this hard time.


Water is life,


P.S. If you live nearby, I will be leading a vigil at Lake Tomahawk in Black Mountain, NC tonight at 5:30pm, and we would love to have you.