Coal or Solar? Let's Go Solar!

Aug 12, 2017

Coal River Mountain Watch is planning to have solar panels installed on the roof of the Judy Bonds Center for Appalachian Preservation, enough to provide all our electrical needs and then some. We’ll be grid-tied, so we’ll have power at night and cloudy days and also feed excess back into the grid when we produce more than we use. The system will be ready for a battery backup to be installed later, so then we’ll still have power when the lines go down. This will not only eliminate our electric bill and coal use for electricity, but it will make the Judy Bonds Center a valuable community resource in times of emergency and disaster. Solar Holler’s outreach director came to take a look Monday to assess the building and electrical hookups. We’re blessed with ideal solar exposure. This would be clean solar energy replacing our current coal-fired average annual usage of 9,409 kilowatt hours and $85 per month electric bill. That’s $85 per month NOT going to a coal-fired utility. That’s over 10,200 pounds of coal kept in the ground per year. That’s over 20,300 pounds of CO2 kept out of the atmosphere per year. That's your climate and the climate all our descendants will inherit.              So how can you help make this bright, shining dream come true?


Alpha Natural Resources Ordered to Show Cause to Keep Permit

Aug 10, 2017

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection has ordered Alpha Natural Resources subsidiary Republic Energy to show cause why a mountaintop removal coal mine permit on Coal River Mountain in Raleigh County should not be suspended or revoked. Republic has received seven notices of violation at its 802-acre Middle Ridge permit since July 25, 2016. Three or more of the same type of violation within a year demonstrate a pattern of violations and initiate the “show cause” procedure. Republic has 30 days to request a hearing or a consent order; otherwise, the permit will be suspended or revoked or its bond forfeited. Alpha subsidiaries operate over ten square miles of active, approved or pending mountaintop removal sites and coal waste slurry impoundments on Coal River Mountain. Local citizens group Coal River Mountain Watch has opposed the operations because of the documented public health impacts of mountaintop removal, including significantly elevated rates of cancer, heart disease, birth defects and other deadly illnesses. Mountaintop removal also causes long-term pollution of mountain streams and the loss of access to the mountain for traditional activities including hiking, hunting, and gathering ginseng, berries, mushrooms, ramps and other forest resources. Increased runoff from the deforested sites and altered topography can also contribute to flooding.


Come to the Informal Conference (Public Hearing) to Oppose Another Mountaintop Removal Renewal

Jul 26, 2017

WVDEP is holding the “informal conference” for the renewal of Panther Creek Mining’s Moccasin North surface mine, permit number S303107, July 27 at 6:00 PM in the Cooper Rock Room at the WVDEP headquarters. Yes, the same time as the Mountain Music and Medicinals event and an hour away. If you’re in the Charleston area and not coming to our event, please attend the conference and give comments opposing the renewal of S303107. The WVDEP address is 601 57th Street, Charleston, WV 25304.


Mountain Music and Herbal Medics This Week

Jul 24, 2017

Join us for the herbal medicine clinic July 25-28 and join the fun at Mountain Music and Medicinals July 27!  By popular demand, the Herbal Medics are returning to the Judy Bonds Center for Appalachian Preservation in Naoma (the Coal River Mountain Watch office and community center) and the Salamy Building in Whitesville. On July 27 at 6 PM, join Coal River Mountain Watch for a free evening of live music by Nashville’s Nora Jane Struthers and Joe Overton from Nashville, a workshop on easy herbs for digestive health by Katja Swift and Ryn Midura of the Commonwealth Center for Holistic Herbalism, and some yummy food. 


New Mountaintop Removal Photos, Coal River Mountain

Jul 18, 2017

Junior Walk took these photos by aerial drone on July 18, 2017. From above the mouth of McDowell Branch on Coal River Mountain, he aimed the camera up the holler generally west. This is the Middle Ridge mountaintop  removal site operated by Alpha Natural Resources, with seven violations within the past year: four for sediment control, two for method of operations, and one for permit conditions. Everything you see above the lower edge of "disturbance" is permitted for mountaintop removal. People live in these homes, forced to breathe the carcinogenic blasting dust from the daily explosive equivalent of a MOAB "mother of all bombs." Please support Coal River Mountain Watch's work to end this abomination at And if someone tells you that mountaintop removal is over, tell them it just ain't so. Thanks!         


CREEK in the Creek

Jul 15, 2017

The Coal River Environmental Education for Kids (CREEK) program provides meaningful, memorable, hands-on learning opportunities. Kids either won't get this in school or they'll get a coal industry-approved lesson. In fact, several public school teachers receive grants to promote a pro-coal curriculum from the WV Coal Association. CREEK counters this propaganda with truth and an appreciation for a healthy environment. Field trips, guest speakers, and stream cleanups teach valuable lessons and, even more importantly, instill a sense of stewardship and pride in community service. On Friday, July 14, the CREEK kids got a lesson on water quality from the WV Dept. of Environmental Protection's Save Our Streams program coordinator, and they had a lot of fun in Peachtree Creek. Please sponsor this program with a tax-deductible gift at  Thanks for your support!  Coal River Environmental Education for Kids (CREEK)       


See After Coal in Toledo and stay for the discussion panel

Jul 7, 2017

Directed by Tom Hansell, “After Coal profiles inspiring individuals who are building a new future in the coalfields of eastern Kentucky and South Wales. This hour-long documentary invites viewers to the front lines of the transition away from fossil fuels.” Of course, we still have the coal industry's ongoing impacts to communities, including mountaintop removal. That will be part of the after-After Coal panel discussion with Coal River Mountain Watch executive director Vernon Haltom and author and former miner Gary Bentley. The film starts at 3:00 at the Ohio Theatre in Toledo, 3106 Lagrange St, Toledo, OH 43608.