USGS Halts Research On Mountaintop Removal’s Public-health Effects

Jul 28, 2014

"'The data is pretty startling for some of these things,' [USGS scientist Bill] Orem said last week. 'To me, it’s compelling enough that a more targeted health study needs to be conducted in these areas.'  See more at:

However, if that more in-depth study is going to ever be done, it won’t be by Orem and his USGS team. Last year, the Obama administration quietly put the brakes on any new field work to gather data on the potential public-health threats posed by mountaintop removal."
Learn more about mountaintop removal's health impacts and how you can help pass the Appalachian Community Health Emergency (ACHE) Act at

On 10th Day Of Fasting For The Mountains, 85-year Old Veteran, Supporters, To Hold Press Conference

Jul 15, 2014

Please come out if you can


Coal River Mountain Watch's Own Bob Kincaid On MSNBC

Jun 17, 2014

West Virginia Citizens Action For Real Enforcement (WV CARE)

Jun 17, 2014

What happens when a mountain top removal mining site is approved just 2,000 feet from your house, and you had no idea it was even proposed?

Read this West Virginia local's story, and find out more about what the West Virginia CARE Campaign is doing to fight proposals like this & DONATE to Coal River Mountain Watch to support these efforts :

Aerial photograph documenting mountain top removal mining atop Kayford Mountain in West Virginia. The top photo shows nearby Cherry Pond Mountain.
A photo from the community meeting last week.

And please consider donating to Coal River Mountain Watch. They’re one of the few out there on the front lines keeping mountains safe from coal extraction.


Ruling In Brushy Fork Case Shows Alpha Violating Clean Water Act

Apr 24, 2014

For Immediate Release    HUNTINGTON, W.Va.—A federal court has ruled that Alpha Natural Resources’ subsidiary Marfork Coal Co. violated water pollution limits at its Brushy Fork slurry impoundment on Coal River Mountain. In a suit brought by citizens’ group Coal River Mountain Watch and other environmental groups, Judge Robert Chambers ruled that Marfork, a former Massey Energy subsidiary, exceeded limits for the pollutant selenium.  The ruling comes on the heels of Alpha Natural Resources’ record settlement with the US Dept. of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency in March 2014. Derek Teaney of Appalachian Mountain Advocates represented the groups.                                                                                                                      Flyover courtesy     Photo by crmw.netBrushy Fork Impoundment taken in March 2013 by Vernon Haltom, flight  courtesy of Southwings.


Remembering Buffalo Creek

Feb 26, 2014

125 children, women, and men died 42 years ago today. Pittston Coal Company's waste sludge dam gave way, flooding Buffalo Creek, killing innocent citizens, and leaving 4,000 homeless.  The names and ages of the dead are listed here.

2.8 billion-gallon sludge dam above the old Marsh Fork Elementary and community of Edwight, WV
Dec. 2005 sludge spill, Little Marsh Fork near Whitesville, WV

Federal Court Strikes Down Bush-Era Stream-Dumping Rule Pro-mountaintop Removal Measure And Threat To Clean Water Gets The Axe

Feb 20, 2014

NEWS RELEASE: February 20, 2014
Contact: Liz Judge, Earthjustice, 415.217.2007,
Vernon Halton, Coal River Mountain Watch, 304.952.4610 or 304.854.2182,

Federal Court Strikes Down Bush-Era Stream-Dumping Rule
Pro-mountaintop removal measure and threat to clean water gets the axe

Washington, D.C. ⎯ Today a federal court struck down a controversial George W. Bush administration rule that opened up Appalachia’s streams and waterways to toxic dumping from destructive mountaintop removal mining operations.

Numerous national and Appalachian environmental and community groups challenged the midnight rule from 2008, which repealed a longstanding stream protection — a “buffer zone” of protection from mining activities and dumping around waterways.  Earthjustice, on behalf of Coal River Mountain Watch, Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, Kentucky Waterways Alliance, Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, Statewide Organizing For Community Empowerment, Sierra Club, Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards, Waterkeeper Alliance, and West Virginia Highlands Conservancy, and together with co-counsel at Appalachian Mountain Advocates, the Appalachian Citizens Law Center, and Sierra Club, brought one of the legal challenges to the 2008 Bush rule, arguing that the rule unlawfully weakened protection for vital water resources.

Before the Bush rule eliminated the “stream buffer zone,” this safeguard stood for decades in order to protect American waterways from the type of extreme destruction and obliteration that is now being caused by mountaintop removal mining. Mountaintop removal mining has buried an estimated 2,400 miles of Appalachian streams and polluted many more miles of waterways.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia struck down the Bush rule because it violated the Endangered Species Act. The court determined it was unnecessary to consider the many other claims against the rule, including the flaws alleged in Earthjustice’s case.

The following statement is from Earthjustice attorney Neil Gormley:

“This decision restores longstanding stream protections and finally puts an end to the Bush administration’s attempt to let mining companies dump toxic waste into our waterways. We’re glad to see it struck from the books and gone as the law of the land. Good riddance to a harmful midnight rule that hurts communities and waterways.

“As the ongoing water crisis in West Virginia unfortunately shows, these communities need stronger water protections.

“Right now, there’s an effort in the U.S. House of Representatives to force states to adopt this same flawed rule. The House will soon vote on H.R. 2824, a cynical attempt by friends of coal and polluter allies in Congress to take this weak, confusing, and contradictory rule and make it a centerpiece of the surface mining law. We hope this clear court decision puts that idea to rest. ”

The following is a statement from Vernon Haltom, executive director of Coal River Mountain Watch:

"Coal River Mountain Watch is pleased that the court struck down the Bush rule intended to make mountaintop removal more expedient. Unfortunately, we are still stuck with regulators who refuse to enforce the previous rule, who refuse to take citizens' complaints seriously, and who refuse to acknowledge the growing scientific evidence that mountaintop removal harms human health. We need federal takeover of the West Virginia Dept. of Environmental Protection's failed mining division, and we need to pass the Appalachian Community Health Emergency (ACHE) Act, H.R. 526."