A call to action from the good people at http://www.ilovemountains.org/ . Please at least read to understand their perspective, let it affect you, and if you feel comfortable, take action through calling or emailing your elected representative. I share this information not as a disinterested individual, but as a Christian obeying the command to care for God’s creation. The situation is dire. As Will Samson writes in his book Enough: Contentment in an Age of Excess,
“Men and women are stuck with a coal economy that is devastating their job base and leaving little hope for their future. Children are leaving Appalachia in record numbers, crushing families, some of whom have lived in that area for more than two hundred years. Throughout the coal-mining areas of Appalachia, in almost biblical proportions, neighbor is pitted against neighbor, friend against friend (Isaiah 19:2). One family fights to preserve ancestral lands from being take and blown up to get at the coal seams below, while another enjoys ATVs and a new widescreen TV.” (36)
Massey Energy has begun blasting on Coal River Mountain in southern West Virginia. The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection has stated that the mining operation on the mountain is “actively moving coal.” Workers have been seen moving heavy equipment up to the mining zones, and blasting and plumes of smoke were seen and heard near the Brushy Fork coal slurry impoundment.
he Brushy Fork impoundment is an enormous retention pond holding 8.2 billion gallons of toxic coal slurry waste. If the impoundment were to fail due to the blasting, hundreds of lives will be lost and thousands more will be in jeopardy from an enormous slurry flood.
A 2006 study confirmed that Coal River Mountain—the highest peaks ever slated for mining in the state—is an ideal location for developing utility-scale wind power. Local residents have rallied around this proposal as a symbol of hope, a promise of a new and cleaner energy future, but that hope may be destroyed unless quick and decisive action is taken right now.
6,000 Acres To Be Destroyed
Massey’s plans for the mountaintop removal operation would destroy over 6,000 acres of Coal River Mountain and create 18 different valley fills, devastating the Clear Fork watershed. Over 10 square miles of the most bio-diverse ecosystem in the United States will be destroyed forever, affecting the lives of the local residents by destroying their homeland and polluting their air and water.
Wind on Coal River
A wind assessment study conducted by Coal River Mountain Watch and Downstream Stategies revealed that Coal River Mountain has enough wind potential to provide electricity for over 150,000 homes and create stable, well-paying jobs—forever.
The proposed wind farm would help diversify the local economy in an area historically dependent upon sparse, temporary coal mining jobs, pumping $20 million per year in direct local spending during construction and $2 million per year thereafter. Destroying the mountain will also be destroying one of the best wind power sites in West Virginia.
This opportunity, however, depends upon the mountain being left intact. If blasting continues on Coal River Mountain, the wind potential—and the jobs—will be lost forever.
And thank you for helping to preserve Coal River Mountain for generations to come.
And if your Senator is Mitch McConnell, tell him to stop whoring himself out to Big Coal. It’s unsightly to see supposed leaders be such a puppet and lapdog of big business (Nathan’s words here, not the folks at ilovemountains).