Mountaintop Removal on Coal River Mountain

Jan 31, 2019

Coal River Mountain Watch outreach coordinator Junior Walk took the drone for a chilly flight early this morning. The footage reveals Alpha Natural Resources expanding the Middle Ridge site over the ridge into the head of Sycamore Creek, tearing down Boyd Branch Knob (the tallest peak to the left), and continuing the Eagle 2 site (the right end of the photos). These photos show over a half mile of ridgeline being destroyed, just a portion of a much larger complex extending for miles on the other side. Mountaintop removal leaves a permanent mark on the mountain as well as on the lives of the people living nearby, in communities plagued with cancer, heart disease, birth defects, and other diseases attributable to the deadly silica dust fallout from blasting. WV Dept. of Environmental Protection this month approved Alpha's renewal of the Eagle 2 permit, in spite of its invalidity, CRMW's objections, and our lawsuit.  Please support our work to protect this mountain and the communities around it as well as ending mountaintop removal at Read on for more photos.


Intern Spotlight

Dec 31, 2018

Coal River Mountain Watch hosts interns and volunteers who contribute to our work. Here's what one of our summer 2018 interns, Austin Stewart, had to say about his experience:


Human Rights Watch Report: The Coal Mine Next Door

Dec 12, 2018

Human Rights Watch has issued a new 88-page report, The Coal Mine Next Door: How the US Government's Deregulation of Mountaintop Removal Threatens Public Health. Coal River Mountain Watch provided input including a tour, interviews, and contacts for the lead researcher. You can read the report here, and a news report about the report, with a timeline, here "This report focuses on how Congress invoked the Congressional Review Act, a little-used law that gives it veto power over federal agency rules, to cancel the Stream Protection Rule, enacted after eight years of agency review, that required coal companies to monitor their impact on streams and restore them at the end of a mining project. The Trump administration subsequently canceled a half-completed federally-funded study the National Academy of Sciences was conducting on the potential health effects of surface mining in central Appalachia, even though dozens of scientific studies indicate that it poses serious threats to the health of nearby residents and destroys their environment. In doing so, the administration not only assured the continuation of a hazardous form of mining but also robbed the public of an important tool to assess its true cost."


Groups Sue Alpha for Unlawful Mountaintop Removal

Nov 16, 2018

Expired Mining Permit Poses Risks to Coal River Mountain and Surrounding Communities CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Today, a coalition of groups filed a federal lawsuit against mining company Republic Energy seeking to halt unlawful coal mining activities in Raleigh County, W.Va. Republic Energy is mining one of the only remaining intact ridgelines on the heavily mined Coal River Mountain without a valid mine permit designed to protect water, air, and land on the mountain.


Take Action to Deny an Invalid Mountaintop Removal Permit

Oct 23, 2018

Deny renewal of an invalid permit. Please sign the petition and share at
-This permit is not valid. It terminated as a matter of law years ago in accordance with the federal Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA) of 1977.


Public Hearings for Electric Rate Hikes

Oct 8, 2018

Appalachian Power Company and Wheeling Power Company have applied to raise residential and commercial electric rates by more than 11%. WV Public Service Commission is holding public hearings for citizen comments beginning Oct. 9 in Princeton.  APC/WPC say they need the increase in large part because residential consumption has decreased 14% and the number of residential customers has dropped by 11,000 since 2013. Citizens should not be penalized for reducing their usage. Government agencies placing corporate profit over citizens’ well-being is one of the reasons for people leaving West Virginia to begin with. You can attend a hearing in person or you can comment directly here at Enter Case Number 18-0646-E-42T and select “Protest” for Comment Type. Public hearings begin Oct. 9 in Princeton and Oct. 11 in Beckley. Read more for more details and hearing dates and locations.


Eagle 2 Mountaintop Removal Update

Sep 12, 2018

The 2,040-acre Eagle 2 mountaintop removal site on Coal River Mountain continues to receive special treatment from the WV Dept. of Environmental “Protection” in spite of having no valid permit. On Sept. 9, the WVDEP “reviewed and accepted the Annual Blasting Advertisement” for the site, even though the permit should have terminated by law in 2011 for not starting within three years.  In 2012, the federal Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) upheld the WVDEP’s retroactive extension of the permit, and just recently, after years of litigation and foot-dragging, reaffirmed that decision. However, subsequent extensions and renewals are questionable, and the WVDEP has routinely granted them. OSMRE questions the validity of those further extensions, but has yet to take action compelling WVDEP to justify them. Now, even if the permit were valid, it expired June 6. The only document mentioning an extension of the renewal is a July 18 inspection report noting that the permit renewal is being reviewed and extended to August 5.  While the company began destroying 25 acres of the site in March, they can do no more timbering until November because the endangered Indiana bat roosts in the forest.