Coal River Mountain in West Virginia is being dynamited, and the Coal River Valley community needs your help.
Earlier this week, RAN staff heard from allies in the coalfields that a subsidiary of Massey Energy, the largest coal producer in Appalachia, has resumed mountaintop removal operations at Coal River Mountain.
There are two reasons for you to take action to save Coal River Mountain. First, and foremost, the lives of the people living near the blasting are in danger. The blast site is near a sludge impoundment dam, Brushy Fork, that holds back approximately 8.2 billion gallons of coal waste. Were that impoundment to fail, as many have in the past, it could flood the Coal River Valley and threaten the lives of at least 1000 residents within minutes.
The second reason you should help save Coal River Mountain, is that this mountain represents the frontier for our clean energy future. Studies have shown that, if left intact, the ridges on Coal River Mountain have Class 7 wind potential – the best there is. Research by the Coal River Wind Project has shown that a wind farm on top of the mountain could generate approximately 1.2% of West Virginia’s total energy needs and create hundreds of permanent jobs in the area, while also generating long-term tax revenue.
As Appalachian Voices, Matt Wasson, wrote in Grist: “A 328-megawatt wind farm versus a 6,000-acre mountaintop removal coal mine-there could be no better symbol of the crossroads we are at in America’s energy future.” Let’s make sure the country goes down the right road.
The most important thing you can do today to help the people in Coal River Valley and protect our clean energy future is to call EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and ask her to protect Coal River Mountain.
Last Monday, seven youth were arrested in an effort to support residents of the Coal River Valley when they delivered a letter and personally asked West Virginia’s Governor Manchin to revoke Massey’s permit to blast on Coal River Mountain. Manchin declined, saying “what we’re trying to do is find a balance, and that’s tough to do in an extractive state.” Governor Manchin and the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection have made clear that they are not interested in stopping Massey from destroying Coal River Mountain and its potential for renewable energy development. It’s time for the US EPA to intervene.
Please take action and ask the EPA to intervene at Coal River Mountain, and investigate the safety of the massive Brushy Fork coal waste impoundment.