The West Virginia Highlands Conservancy is working in vigorous opposition to coal mining by mountaintop removal. This destructive form of strip mining has gotten out of control. Lawsuits brought by the Highlands Conservancy are challenging this method of resource extraction based on violations of the Clean Water Act and the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act. The environmental and social impacts of mountain top removal mining extend well beyond the streams that are filled. Forests will take centuries to regenerate, if they ever do, on the packed, barren surface left after this most destructive of mining methods. The communities below these massive operations are often devastated, either by the mining itself, or by subsequent floods and valley fill mudslides. We believe that new rules for these activities are necessary, and existing laws need to be more vigorously enforced.
Our efforts on the coal mining issue go well beyond just mountain top removal. We continue to defend our mining laws and work on other mining related issues like Acid Mine Drainage (AMD) which is destroying streams in the northern part of the state.
Through its Forest Watch program, the Highlands Conservancy is a leader in protecting the Monongahela National Forest. We provide West Virginians a strong voice for protecting this public resources from the exploiting and destructive forces of industry. As part of this program our Mountain Odyssey outings calendar provides adventurous people the opportunity to get out and explore and enjoy our Wonder-full state. We also give back to the Mon through trail maintenance projects as well as helping with forest restoration and other conservation efforts.
After 40 years of winning Wilderness protection for the Mon, the Conservancy continues this effort through its work with the West Virginia Wilderness Coalition.
Our organization is deeply involved in the current debate about the massive wind energy facilities now coming to the Highlands. These projects produce green energy on the one hand, but also seriously damage the ecology and aesthetics of the West Virginia Highlands on the other.
The Highlands Conservancy supports bringing Blackwater Canyon into public ownership. This dramatic canyon lies below Blackwater Falls State Park and is surrounded by Monongahela National Forest. It is considered by many to be one of West Virginia ‘s greatest scenic treasures.
We monitor compliance with the settlement agreement in our Corridor H lawsuit that shifted forty percent of the alignment and delayed construction by as much as twenty years; and continue to work to keep such massive highway projects from destroying and fragmenting our highlands.
Our organization works to protect our native flora and fauna while encouraging a fight against harmful invasive exotic species.