Blasting Above Coal River Mountain Communities

May 2, 2017

The US military recently used a MOAB “mother of all bombs” in Afghanistan, with a yield rated at 22,000 pounds of TNT. This amount is considered a “small blast” by the WVDEP, and is detonated above the communities on Coal River Mountain at least six times per week, with the resulting carcinogenic dust wafting into homes and drifting for miles. Here are some photos from April 25, including a blast above the McDowell Hollow neighborhood shown here. But wait, there's more!

The latest USGS explosives yearbook lists WV as using 222,000 metric tons of explosives in 2014. After converting to pounds and multiplying by 0.8 (ammonium nitrate + diesel has 80% of the explosive force of TNT), that works out to 1,252,308 pounds per day, six days per week. That’s the equivalent of more than 55 MOABs per day for WV (it’s 45 for KY). In other terms, it’s more than 1,200 Tomahawk missiles per day. Or, for the old-school folks, the explosive equivalent of 13 of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima per year: one per month plus a bonus.

Just in case anyone thought mountaintop removal was over.