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Bottoms Up: W.Va. Senator Drinks Homemade "Coal Waste" on Senate Floor

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A West Virginia State Senator made a unique statement Thursday by drinking a bottle of what he referred to as coal slurry.

Senator Randy White (D-Webster) introduced a bill on the senate floor that limits coal slurry sites from making changes to their permits until the Department of Environmental Protection releases its findings on whether the ground water in these areas is safe to drink.

Right now, there are 15 active coal slurry sights, according to White. This is where coal companies can inject coal slurry, the liquid and solid waste left over from the mining and preparation process, in abandoned underground mines.

White says he drank the 12 ounces of liquid Thursday to make a statement.

The senator tells WSAZ.com he wants other lawmakers to realize there are health concerns when it comes to drinking coal slurry water. He says lawmakers are elected to protect their constituents' health and they need to be held accountable to make sure they're doing just that.

White says if people have to drink water with coal slurry in it, lawmakers should have to drink it as well. White says lawmakers are no different.

The senator says the "coal slurry" he drank Thursday was a homemade recipe and he doesn't want to publicly disclose the ingredients.

White tells WSAZ.com experts have said the water in these areas is safe, but recent studies indicate there could be a potential health crisis brewing.

White wants to keep these coal companies from expanding their permits to include other mines or new companies from gaining new permits until the studies are officially released.

Watch the video of White's statement courtesy of West Virginia Public Broadcasting.


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