Come to the Informal Conference (Public Hearing) to Oppose Another Mountaintop Removal Renewal

Jul 26, 2017

WVDEP is holding the “informal conference” for the renewal of Panther Creek Mining’s Moccasin North surface mine, permit number S303107, July 27 at 6:00 PM in the Cooper Rock Room at the WVDEP headquarters. Yes, the same time as the Mountain Music and Medicinals event and an hour away. If you’re in the Charleston area and not coming to our event, please attend the conference and give comments opposing the renewal of S303107. The WVDEP address is 601 57th Street, Charleston, WV 25304.


Mountain Music and Herbal Medics This Week

Jul 24, 2017

Join us for the herbal medicine clinic July 25-28 and join the fun at Mountain Music and Medicinals July 27!  By popular demand, the Herbal Medics are returning to the Judy Bonds Center for Appalachian Preservation in Naoma (the Coal River Mountain Watch office and community center) and the Salamy Building in Whitesville. On July 27 at 6 PM, join Coal River Mountain Watch for a free evening of live music by Nashville’s Nora Jane Struthers and Joe Overton from Nashville, a workshop on easy herbs for digestive health by Katja Swift and Ryn Midura of the Commonwealth Center for Holistic Herbalism, and some yummy food. 


New Mountaintop Removal Photos, Coal River Mountain

Jul 18, 2017

Junior Walk took these photos by aerial drone on July 18, 2017. From above the mouth of McDowell Branch on Coal River Mountain, he aimed the camera up the holler generally west. This is the Middle Ridge mountaintop  removal site operated by Alpha Natural Resources, with seven violations within the past year: four for sediment control, two for method of operations, and one for permit conditions. Everything you see above the lower edge of "disturbance" is permitted for mountaintop removal. People live in these homes, forced to breathe the carcinogenic blasting dust from the daily explosive equivalent of a MOAB "mother of all bombs." Please support Coal River Mountain Watch's work to end this abomination at And if someone tells you that mountaintop removal is over, tell them it just ain't so. Thanks!         


CREEK in the Creek

Jul 15, 2017

The Coal River Environmental Education for Kids (CREEK) program provides meaningful, memorable, hands-on learning opportunities. Kids either won't get this in school or they'll get a coal industry-approved lesson. In fact, several public school teachers receive grants to promote a pro-coal curriculum from the WV Coal Association. CREEK counters this propaganda with truth and an appreciation for a healthy environment. Field trips, guest speakers, and stream cleanups teach valuable lessons and, even more importantly, instill a sense of stewardship and pride in community service. On Friday, July 14, the CREEK kids got a lesson on water quality from the WV Dept. of Environmental Protection's Save Our Streams program coordinator, and they had a lot of fun in Peachtree Creek. Please sponsor this program with a tax-deductible gift at  Thanks for your support!  Coal River Environmental Education for Kids (CREEK)       


See After Coal in Toledo and stay for the discussion panel

Jul 7, 2017

Directed by Tom Hansell, “After Coal profiles inspiring individuals who are building a new future in the coalfields of eastern Kentucky and South Wales. This hour-long documentary invites viewers to the front lines of the transition away from fossil fuels.” Of course, we still have the coal industry's ongoing impacts to communities, including mountaintop removal. That will be part of the after-After Coal panel discussion with Coal River Mountain Watch executive director Vernon Haltom and author and former miner Gary Bentley. The film starts at 3:00 at the Ohio Theatre in Toledo, 3106 Lagrange St, Toledo, OH 43608.


Final Order on Long Ridge #1 Mountaintop Removal Appeal

Jul 6, 2017

The lessons abound in this ruling from the WV Surface Mine Board. "Rigid jurisdictional requirements established by the Legislature" apply to citizen groups but not coal companies. Coal River Mountain Watch is "sophisticated." West Virginia Dept. of Environmental Protection posting on their website constitutes serving notice. WVDEP officials should not be relied upon to answer questions regarding the application or enforcement of the laws they're supposed to apply and enforce. So, if you have a question or complaint, make sure you contact WVDEP attorney Jason Wandling at or 304-926-0499 extension 1446. Because he agreed 100% with Alpha Natural Resources attorneys from the firm Jackson Kelly, he must be confident in his ability to do the job of which other WVDEP employees are incapable.  And if you would help Coal River Mountain Watch hold polluting coal companies and their tax-paid enablers in government agencies accountable, please sign up for our email alerts and consider a tax-deductible gift at Thank you!


A MOAB a Day, What We Do at CRMW, and How to Help

Jun 22, 2017

The 11-ton “Mother of All Bombs” recently dropped in Afghanistan made headlines, but when that explosive yield is used to blast mountains into dust above Appalachian communities, it’s considered a “small blast” by state regulators. The residents of McDowell Hollow on Coal River Mountain endure the equivalent of at least one MOAB above their homes every day, six days a week, damaging their homes, their health, and their quality of life. Coal companies use the equivalent of 55 MOABs per day in West Virginia and 45 in Kentucky. Over two dozen peer-reviewed scientific studies document the deadly effects in the form of elevated rates of cancer, heart disease, birth defects, and other illnesses.Few groups are still actively working to stop the diabolical process of mountaintop removal coal mining (MTR). The prevalent myth that “King Coal is dead,” based largely on coal company bankruptcies, has served the industry well, diverting attention and resources away from efforts to end MTR. At least one prominent group has claimed victory and declared in a fundraising letter that “mountaintop removal is essentially over.” The truth, however, is that MTR continues to grow and to harm neighboring communities. On Coal River Mountain, for example, formerly bankrupt Alpha Natural Resources has permits for over 10 square miles of destruction active, approved, or pending.For 19 years, Coal River Mountain Watch has stayed true to our mission to stop the destruction of our communities and environment by mountaintop removal mining, to improve the quality of life in our area, and to help rebuild sustainable communities. Ours is a true frontline community, with a photo of our office, a 2,000-acre MTR site, and 2.8-billion-gallon toxic coal waste sludge dam in the same shot. We work in the trenches—literally, hiking the sediment ditches, finding coal company violations, and grappling with WV Dept. of Environmental Protection to enforce the laws meant to protect us.The same company whose lax safety measures caused the 2010 Upper Big Branch disaster that killed 29 miners in our community continues to endanger the community with MTR. Our former executive director, 2003 Goldman Environmental Prize winner Judy Bonds, urged us to “fight harder” until she finally lost to cancer in 2011. Our greatest accomplishment was securing a new school for the kids of Marsh Fork Elementary in a safe location.The old school was next door to a coal preparation plant and the 2,000-acre MTR site and sludge dam just mentioned. While our tactics and campaigns have evolved over the years, we persist in our determination to end mountaintop removal. But we need your financial support to continue our work to keep boots on the ground, eyes in the sky, kids in the creek, and neighbors in the know.