Alpha Natural Resources Cited for 8th and 9th Violations at Mountaintop Removal Site on Coal River Mountain

Sep 14, 2017

Alpha Natural Resources subsidiary Republic Energy has received its eighth and ninth notices of violation at its 802-acre Middle Ridge mountaintop removal permit on Coal River Mountain. West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection inspector Matthew Dillon issued the violations on September 8. Violation 8 is the third "method of operations" violation since August 23, 2016, and is for failure to comply with the planned reclamation schedule. Dillon ordered the company to "cease any new disturbance" until they come into compliance with the reclamation plan. Violation 9 is for "permit conditions," the second such violation since June 9, 2017. The remaining four violations are for failure to properly maintain sediment control ditches. Because of this pattern of violation, the WVDEP ordered Alpha to show cause why the permit should not be terminated or revoked. Alpha has requested a hearing in the case, and Coal River Mountain Watch has requested to intervene.


Remember Labor Day!

Sep 3, 2017

Have a great Labor Day weekend, and remember why.                                            Remember that children used to work in US mines and sweatshops, and still do in places around the world. Remember that coal companies used to pay miners with “scrip” that was only good at the company store. Remember the many deadly disasters resulting from coal companies cutting corners to save a few bucks. Remember that some of these disasters killed people in neighboring communities, such as the Buffalo Creek disaster of 1972 or the ongoing disaster of mountaintop removal. And remember that coal companies never change their ways out of the goodness of their hearts or any sense of compassion to their workers or their neighbors.


Remembering Judy Bonds on Her 65th Birthday

Aug 27, 2017

Julia “Judy” Bonds would have been celebrating her 65th birthday today. A model of tenacity and courage, she inspired the thousands who heard her speak and those of us who knew her and worked with her. She fought for her community against mountaintop removal until cancer took her from us in January, 2011. Judy urged us to “Fight harder. Fight harder and finish them off.” If you are able to help support Coal River Mountain Watch in that fight, including maintaining the Judy Bonds Center for Appalachian Preservation, we would appreciate it. You can do so at, at our Facebook page at, or through the mail at CRMW, P.O. Box 303, Naoma, WV 25140. Here are some videos so you can hear her yourself. Thank you.  Click on the following links to see the videos.


Mountaintop Removal Health Review Halted

Aug 23, 2017

The US Dept. of Interior’s Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) has suspended a review of community health impacts of mountaintop removal coal mining. On Aug. 18, OSMRE told the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine to cease all work on the review. The Academies announced OSMRE’s directive on August 21 and continued with scheduled meetings in Kentucky that day and the next. The $1-million study, announced by OSMRE on Aug. 3, 2016, was to take two years and came at the request of the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP). WVDEP made the request in 2015 after mounting pressure from the Appalachian Community Health Emergency (ACHE) campaign and allied groups to halt new mountaintop removal coal mining permits. Over 30 peer-reviewed scientific studies demonstrate public health impacts from the process. In West Virginia alone, coal companies detonate over 1.5 million pounds of explosives per day, expelling fine dust into neighboring communities.


Coal or Solar? Let's Go Solar!

Aug 12, 2017

Coal River Mountain Watch is planning to have solar panels installed on the roof of the Judy Bonds Center for Appalachian Preservation, enough to provide all our electrical needs and then some. We’ll be grid-tied, so we’ll have power at night and cloudy days and also feed excess back into the grid when we produce more than we use. The system will be ready for a battery backup to be installed later, so then we’ll still have power when the lines go down. This will not only eliminate our electric bill and coal use for electricity, but it will make the Judy Bonds Center a valuable community resource in times of emergency and disaster. Solar Holler’s outreach director came to take a look Monday to assess the building and electrical hookups. We’re blessed with ideal solar exposure. This would be clean solar energy replacing our current coal-fired average annual usage of 9,409 kilowatt hours and $85 per month electric bill. That’s $85 per month NOT going to a coal-fired utility. That’s over 10,200 pounds of coal kept in the ground per year. That’s over 20,300 pounds of CO2 kept out of the atmosphere per year. That's your climate and the climate all our descendants will inherit.              So how can you help make this bright, shining dream come true?


Alpha Natural Resources Ordered to Show Cause to Keep Permit

Aug 10, 2017

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection has ordered Alpha Natural Resources subsidiary Republic Energy to show cause why a mountaintop removal coal mine permit on Coal River Mountain in Raleigh County should not be suspended or revoked. Republic has received seven notices of violation at its 802-acre Middle Ridge permit since July 25, 2016. Three or more of the same type of violation within a year demonstrate a pattern of violations and initiate the “show cause” procedure. Republic has 30 days to request a hearing or a consent order; otherwise, the permit will be suspended or revoked or its bond forfeited. Alpha subsidiaries operate over ten square miles of active, approved or pending mountaintop removal sites and coal waste slurry impoundments on Coal River Mountain. Local citizens group Coal River Mountain Watch has opposed the operations because of the documented public health impacts of mountaintop removal, including significantly elevated rates of cancer, heart disease, birth defects and other deadly illnesses. Mountaintop removal also causes long-term pollution of mountain streams and the loss of access to the mountain for traditional activities including hiking, hunting, and gathering ginseng, berries, mushrooms, ramps and other forest resources. Increased runoff from the deforested sites and altered topography can also contribute to flooding.


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.