RIGHT TO BREATHE: 50 STATES UNITED

Carol Warren

There is no such thing as clean coal—the extraction is always filthy and takes a terrible toll on the communities where it is done.

Profession: Project Coordinator/Faith-based Liaison
Group Affiliation: Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition

Clean Air Ambassador:

Carol Warren

Webster Springs, West Virginia

(Ed. Note: This story was submitted by Carol Warren and Todd Garland. See Todd's ambassador profile here.)

We both suffer from asthma. When we met, we knew we were a match because each was the only other person we had ever encountered who had been strapped to an ironing board and turned upside down as a child (to aid breathing). Fortunately, we have health insurance and can afford drugs when we need them.

We lived in Harlan County, KY for eight years, and because of all the coal particulates, I (Carol) would wind up in the emergency room at least once a year while we lived there. And Todd stopped breathing once while shoveling coal into the furnace that heated our house. I have not had one breathing-related ER visit since we left 16 years ago, as we do not now live in a coal-intensive area. However, we're certainly aware of how the air quality affects people in the coalfields—especially children, among whom asthma and respiratory problems are epidemic.

In addition to coal, natural gas is also a concern. The emissions from the natural gas wells are unregulated under the current regulatory scheme and the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are making people sick here, just as they do in other fracking areas. Coal extraction and dust blanket many communities in black soot that is omnipresent.

Gas drilling air emissions MUST be regulated! The health impacts are stunning—everything from nosebleeds to neuropathy. Also, there is no such thing as clean coal—the extraction is always filthy and takes a terrible toll on the communities where it is done. Everything we can do to get away from fossil fuel use would help immensely. Also, I (Carol) want the Environmental Protection Agency to know that our states cannot be trusted to regulate these industries! Local politics puts tremendous pressure on the state regulators to give a wink and a nod. The federal government is our only hope for protection!
 

All Messages: Supporting Our Clean Air Ambassadors.

Thanks, Carol and Todd -- the particulate matter reaches far beyone the coal fields, as publication of a recent study shows that Charleston has high particulates. Our daughter likes to see us, but whenever she visits, her asthma kicks in. She doesn't have asthma in Seattle where she now lives. I often wonder if the particulates are what give me trouble when I try to be consistent with jogging along the Boulevard. After a couple of weeks I always end up with respiratory difficulties so no longer try. Rose

I think we are each called to do some work which only we can do. It is wonderful to find people so wholeheartedly engaging in life! Thank you for your years of work - you are a blessing to everyone!

Great job!

Yay, Carol and Todd! Thanks for doing this. I'll be thinking about you tomorrow!

Thank you for speaking for clean air.

Carol, Todd-thank you so much for bringing your stories to DC. Our energy policies need to take into account fossil fuels’ toll on human health. Let the just transition to a cleaner energy future accelerate as if our lives depended on it, because they do!

Hello,
The reason clean air is so important to me
is because I was exposed to toxic chemicals in the poultry plant where I worked as a Federal Inspector. For the
past 13 years I have been too ill to live
any type of normal life. I have to have a
lady come to care for me. I hurt, I swell,
I have to be on oxygen, I have problems
breathing, I have to be careful not to be
exposed to other toxins, I have NO quality
of life. To top it off, Federal Workers Compensation has paid NOT ONE DIME
towards any of my medical care which is
VERY expensive. I was not given any training about chemicals and what they can do. I am only 55 years of age, my face
upon wakening is so swollen and red it
looks horrible. I am embarrased for anyone
to see me when I wake up. Many nights I
do not have to worry about waking up because I am unable to sleep at all. I have
a cancer in my leg now where the chemicals run over it. I am full of growths all through my body, kidneys, breasts, lungs, shoulder, female parts, liver, brain,
and femur bone in knee which has eaten
through the femur bone two places. It is too late for me, but for goodness sake, please do not let this happen to anyone else. It seems in politics, jobs are more important than lives like myself. That is a shame. There are many jobs that could be
created that would not have this enviromental impact on people's lives. I could make many suggestions myself.
I have never smoked, drank alochol, or
took illegal drugs. I took care of my body,
but when I swelled up with inflamation from
the toxic injury, I was told it was because of
my weight. This is absurd, and when I was
able to get surgery, it showed inflamation
severe inside me. I feel like there is a hot
stove inside me burning me alive. That is
how severe the inflamation is. I have numerous injury including neuropathy,
endocardis of the heart, pulmonary hypertension. My regular blood pressure
runs 189/153 at times. Please, do whatever you can to stop this pollution
in the air, land, and water.
It is mandatory, someday your family may
be in the same shape I am in and then you
will realize but it will be too late for them like it is for me. Stop this pollution for thier
sakes if not for anyone else.
Sincerely,
Debra K Dove

Thank you for being our Ambassadors

Thank you so much for what you are doing and for representing us with your voice. As the mother of a grown son who has suffered all his life with asthma that I believe is due to living in our area, I'm grateful.

Thank you for speaking out.

Carol & Todd,

You are truly an inspiration to us all, but especially to those of us who live in and love the beautiful mountains of West Virginia! Keep speaking out for both environmental and political integrity and we shall do even greater things for our children's generation and beyond.

God bless you all in this good work.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Thank you for speaking out for all of us. You have my total support. I live on a farm that has 2 natural gas wells. I never realized they created air pollution. I thought they only polluted underground water, destroyed the natural beauty of the land, and disrupted the serenity of the countryside with the constant rumble of trucks 24 hours a day and floodlights all night long while being built, which can take close to a year.

Carol and Todd, I'm deeply grateful that you both have spoken out so articulately for clean air!

I've lived in the Kanawha Valley all my adult life. I have also suffered with sinus problems all that time. The ability to breath clean air is a right all citizens should share. Thank you for attempting to give us that freedom.

Carol and Todd, thank you both for speaking out for clean air!

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