One Bitten, Twice Shy: Don’t Trust Massey With Black Mountain

By Rainforest Action Network

If you gave someone something precious to protect and they destroyed it, you’d think twice about giving them that responsibility again, right? And if they repeatedly violated your trust, there’s no way you’d have any faith them at all.

That’s the situation the communities of Lynch and Benham find themselves in with Massey Energy, which is proposing an underground coal mine directly above the reservoirs that feed these towns located at the base of Eastern Kentucky’s rugged Black Mountain. So many communities have been burned by Massey that it simply cannot be trusted.

Black Mountain

Massey, of course, is the company responsible for several horrific mining accidents, including the deaths of 29 mine workers at Upper Big Branch Mine. It’s due to its disgraceful safety record that several groups, including RAN and Appalachian Voices, are pushing for the state of Delaware to strip Massey of its corporate charter.

Massey simply cannot be entrusted with Black Mountain. Here are just a few of the risks associated with the project:

  • Public Health: Bennie Massey of the Lynch City Council (and of no relation to Massey the mountain-destroying coal company) once asked: “What’s more important, the water or the coal?” The current proposed mine poses significant threats to the Lynch Reservoir and to water quality in the region. This mine would also place 18 new sediment ponds above the Lynch community and set off blasts near homes and historic buildings. In 2005, while working to expand a road on the A&G MTR mine in Virginia, a three-year-old boy was killed in his sleep when a boulder crashed through his bedroom wall.
  • Environmental: During the last two decades, mountaintop removal mining in Appalachia has destroyed or severely damaged more than a million acres of forest. Part of the proposed mining operation on Black Mountain would involve clearcutting the mountain’s northern hardwood forest, which harbors more than 50 species of rare plants and animals as well as a large black bear population — all of which will inevitably have a negative impact on Benham and Lynch’s plans for growing tourism and their local economy.

There is no reason to decimate Black Mountain for coal. Renewable energy technologies are ready today to take the place of dirty coal power, and a new green economy that will support millions of green jobs is waiting to replace the old dirty energy economy.

To find out more about Black Mountain and other fights to rid communities of dirty coal for good, please go here.

You can also take action right now and tell Delaware Attorney general Beau Biden to strip Massey of its corporate charter.