Coal River Mountain Watch Program Summary

Jul 7, 2018

Coal River Mountain Watch’s mission is to stop the destruction of our communities and environment by mountaintop removal mining (MTR), to improve the quality of life in our area, and to help rebuild sustainable communities.  Projects and programs:


-The Judy Bonds Center for Appalachian Preservation is our solar-powered office building and property in Naoma, WV, where we host interns and visitors, conduct the projects below, and provide a community center. We make the Center available for Raleigh County Library bookmobile parking, the mobile rabies clinic, community meetings, and events such as baby showers and children’s parties. We host film screenings, workshops, and other cultural events.

-Our Citizens’ Enforcement Program (CEP) focuses on empowering residents on and around Coal River Mountain and revealing enough MTR permit violations to compel a shutdown of the sites threatening their health and homes. Within CEP, the complementary Coal River Organizing Project (CROP) and Coal River Intensive Monitoring Project (CRIMP) conduct door-to-door visits, hear residents’ concerns (dust, blasting damage, noise, floods, trucks), assist when possible, and monitor the sites above their homes by drone and by hiking. We report problems for them when they wish to remain anonymous due to fear of company retaliation. Citizen complaints have demonstrated a pattern of violations at one site and initiated elevated enforcement action by the West Virginia Dept. of Environmental Protection (WVDEP).

-Our Tadpole Project organizes community members for clean streams and community pride. With local volunteers and visiting groups, we clean the trash and junk from our streams and hollows, maintain three local cemeteries, and take care of four miles of roadway through the state Adopt-a-Highway program.

-Our Coal River Environmental Education for Kids (CREEK) program began with the young people taking part in Tadpole Project cleanup days. CREEK provides community youth with fun, wholesome learning activities and a sense of pride in community service. Activities include field trips to state parks, the county landfill, the demonstration coal mine, and other locations; education by visiting experts in stream ecology, gardening, first aid, and safety; and hikes, art projects, and holiday activities.

-Our Sustainable Energy and Economic Diversification (SEED) project works to implement and demonstrate alternatives to coal. We have installed a solar photovoltaic system sufficient to provide all our electrical needs. We are raising a half acre of industrial hemp to both generate revenue and demonstrate the viability of this growing opportunity. We also have a medicinal herb garden, fruit trees, and two honeybee hives on site.

-Our Show and Tell Energy Education and Policy (STEEP) project hosts and provides tours to journalists and student groups, showing them the devastating impacts of the coal industry in stark contrast to our clean solutions. We travel to speaking events, give interviews, disseminate information through social media and email alerts, and provide policy input to government officials. We've been featured in several national and international news outlets (e.g. ).

-We promote the Appalachian Community Health Emergency (ACHE) campaign for federal legislation to end MTR.