They Crossed the Line

Apr 30, 2018

Chronic polluter Alpha Natural Resources has illegally, we believe, begun mountaintop removal coal extraction on the 2,040-acre Eagle 2 permit on Coal River Mountain. Covering over three square miles in area and stretching over 11 miles of ridge line, this is the largest permit of the ten square miles of mountaintop removal and coal waste sludge dams that Alpha operates on the mountain. Alpha will clear-cut the forest and blast the mountain to dusty rubble, threatening local residents’ health with the carcinogenic fallout, damaging homes and peace of mind, and polluting streams. This site will effectively cut off the northern side of the mountain from the southern, severely impacting the native wildlife. This site, with its blasting and dust, comes to only two miles from the new Marsh Fork Elementary School. This permit should have terminated in 2011 because federal law requires that permits terminate if mining does not begin within three years. The WV Dept. of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) has, with federal Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation, and Enforcement (OSMRE) blessing, retroactively extended the permit and continued to extend and renew it. Coal River Mountain Watch challenged the extensions, and in December 2016 a federal court vacated and remanded OSMRE’s decision to allow the retroactive extension. OSMRE has still not announced the results of reconsidering their decision, in spite of the court’s order to do so expeditiously.  We need your help to keep fighting this site and the others on Coal River Mountain. We need to keep monitoring these sites for regulatory violations, following up, and holding regulatory agencies accountable to uphold the law. It’s a full-time job taking on a billion-dollar coal company and their unscrupulous lawyers, so we need your help to fund the work. We need a new drone because the old one’s frequent flyer miles and occasional crash have taken a toll. Thanks for any help you can provide here.


P.S. Alpha Natural Resources announced today that they are reuniting with Contura Energy, the company formed from Alpha’s 2015 bankruptcy. Goliath just got bigger.