Stop New Mountaintop Removal on Coal River Mountain

Nov 15, 2016

Nine valley fills, 13 sediment ponds, 23 sediment ditches, and 35 pollution discharge points. The Long Ridge #1 mountaintop removal permit on Coal River Mountain, 847 acres that Alpha Natural Resources intends to destroy, is now one signature away from approval. Please contact Harold Ward, the acting mining director at WV Dept. of Environmental Protection, and urge him to protect community health by denying this permit. 304-926-0490 More details and reasons are in the letter we sent below (click "Read More").


Dear Mr. Ward,
I understand that the permit face for Alpha subsidiary Republic Energy's Long Ridge #1 surface mine, S300115, is awaiting your signature.
I urge you to deny this permit. Multiple peer-reviewed scientific health studies show that this process is deadly to neighboring communities, with highly elevated rates of cancer, heart disease, birth defects, blood inflammation, and more. The National Academy of Sciences will be reviewing the existing body of research, but in the meantime, I urge you to apply the precautionary principle. In short, I'm asking you to withhold permit approval unless and until this process is proven safe for nearby residents. To approve this permit is to gamble with the lives of the children, the unborn, the elderly, and everyone in between, but especially those who are most vulnerable. You have the clear legal authority to withhold this permit based on consideration of health impacts, as ruled by federal courts in multiple cases.
As a practical matter, you do not have the staff to adequately monitor this site in addition to the others that Alpha has in the area. If anything, you are likely to have your existing staff cut. At the nearby Middle Ridge permit, Alpha has already been cited for three violations since July 25, two of which still reflect that the violations are not yet abated. You can only expect more violations, and more that your staff will not catch because they are spread too thin. Also, Alpha clearly does not need this permit to continue operating. Their neighboring Eagle #2 site was approved in 2008 and work has still not started, in spite of your agency's repeated permit extensions.
Please reply with your decision to withhold approval of permit S300115 until this process is proven safe for the men, women, and children who live in the area. You have the legal authority and moral obligation to do the right thing. Thank you.

Vernon Haltom
Executive Director, Coal River Mountain Watch