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“Quicker than Coal Ash” by Photographer Will Warasila

In his recently published photobook, “Quicker than Coal Ash” (Gnomic Book), photographer Will Warasila (previously featured here) confronts the toxic reverberations of the coal industry in small town America. Over the course of a year and a half, Warasila came to know the residents, the landscape, and the structures of energy and power in Walnut Cove, North Carolina. Living in the shadow of Duke Energy’s Belews Creek Steam Station, where toxic coal ash is kept in a massive unlined storage pond and toxins are pumped into the air, water, and soil, the residents of Walnut Cove have been grappling with sickness, death, and an increasing frustration over the company’s lack of consideration for their wellbeing.

While attending a coal ash healing service at a local church called The Well, Warasila heard Pastor Leslie Brewer speak to the anger felt throughout the community: “Bitterness will kill you quicker than coal ash. We must forgive Duke Energy for what they have done to the community and to the state, but that does not mean we have to remain silent. We must fight righteously. There is an army rising up.” With his photographs, Warasila addresses the harm being done to the land and its residents, creating a lyrical view into the things we hold most dear: family, health, and home.”

See more from “Quicker than Coal Ash” below!

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