Mountaintop Removal Blasting Complaint, 7-mile Radius

Jan 21, 2018

On January 11, 2018, like most days, Alpha Natural Resources blasted at their Middle Ridge mountaintop removal site on Coal River Mountain. Like most days, the people living closest were shaken and forced to breathe the carcinogenic fallout. Unlike most days, though, this blast shook homes around the mountain along Route 3 from Arnett to Rock Creek to Naoma--seven miles away.  Coal River Mountain Watch co-director Debbie Jarrell called in a complaint, which the WV Dept. of Environmental Protection investigated the next day. The inspector found everything within limits. Alpha recorded using 966 pounds of explosives per blast, with blasts 8 milliseconds apart (we don't know the total yet), where the limit is 3,814 pounds per blast 8 milliseconds apart. Seismographs in the area showed the blast was within limits, but just barely. The report says, "The maximum air overpressure (air blast) recorded at the other structure-compliance point was 132 decibels (133 decibels allowed by regulation)." Just a whisper more, and Alpha would have racked up their 12th violation at this site. Vigilant citizens are needed to hold this company and WVDEP accountable and eventually get this site shut down.

To make a blasting complaint, as several people near this site have done, you can contact the WVDEP blasting inspector James Blankenship, 304-550-3633,