Contrary to what many believe, Mountaintop Removal and other large scale mining has not disappeared from southern West Virginia.
Ask the brave folks at Coal River Mountain Watch (CRMW) and they will tell and show you how Mountaintop Removal still haunts their hometowns and communities in Boone and Raleigh Counties.
Below is a recent plea from Vernon Haltom, Executive Director at CRMW about events we should all be aware of and respond to.
We have a chance to revoke a 2,000-acre mountaintop removal permit issued in 2008, now owned by Alpha Natural Resources. Though the permit was issued years ago, no mining activity has occurred yet on this portion of Coal River Mountain. Federal law states that a permit “shall terminate” if mining has not begun within three years of the permit being issued.
Coal River Mountain Watch requested that the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) terminate the Eagle 2 permit, prompting the department to instead retroactively grant Alpha an extension, in clear violation of the law. The federal Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) affirmed the DEP’s action.
Fortunately, a federal judge has now vacated OSMRE’s decision, and compelled the agency to reconsider terminating the permit, in light of evidence spelled out in a lawsuit brought by Coal River Mountain Watch. As part of this process, OSMRE has asked the DEP for supplemental information.
West Virginia’s DEP, now under a new administration, can correct the mistake of their predecessors and terminate the permit. Please join us in contacting the Secretary of WVDEP, Austin Caperton, to urge him to correct this mistake, and to uphold his agency’s mission to promote a healthy environment.
Coal River Mountain Watch
[Go to www.crmw.net for more information]