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Grandpa Ed vs. King Coal

Ed Wiley worked in mines across his home state of West Virginia. But then his granddaughter, Kayla, kept coming home sick from school. He soon realized that Kayla was not alone—dozens of children at Marsh Fork Elementary were suffering from respiratory ailments as a result of the coal plant located just 100 yards from the school.

When school leaders and the coal company who owned the plant would not listen to his concerns, Grandpa Ed walked all the Washington, D.C. to meet with legislators, begging them to protect the health of his granddaughter and the hundreds of thousands of children across the region suffering from the effects of coal plants.

Ed insists that the school is not an environmental issue: “My granddaughter is not a bug or a bird,” he insists, “She’s a little human being.”

The story of Ed and Kayla is just one of four powerful narratives in the upcoming documentary, On Coal River. The documentary, created by Asheville filmmakers Adams Wood and Francine Cavanaugh, follows the lives of four ordinary Appalachian folk who take extraordinary actions to protect their families and communities. It’s a powerful journey into the heart of coal country, revealing the enduring power of the human spirit against seemingly insurmountable odds.

View the movie trailer and learn more at

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