Showing and Telling on the Road

Nov 30, 2017

Coal River Mountain Watch outreach coordinator Junior Walk traveled to East Lansing, Michigan, on Nov. 28 to tell a packed house of community members and Michigan State University students about the coal industry's abuses of his Appalachian community. He showed some of his drone footage of mountaintop removal and the sludge dam near his home, which presently holds about 8 billion gallons of toxic coal waste. The event, hosted by MSU Greenpeace, also included a screening of the film Blood on the Mountain, a 2017 International Documentary Association award nominee. The Show and Tell Energy Education and Policy (STEEP) project includes trips such as this to highlight the devastating consequences of mountaintop removal and other coal impacts and demonstrate the urgent need to switch to renewable energy. You can support this work with a tax-deductible gift at


#GivingTuesday Matching Donations for the STEEP Challenge

Nov 28, 2017

It’s Giving Tuesday! Donation matching begins at 8AM Eastern Time!   Starting at 8AM EST (7AM CST, 6AM MST, 5AM PST), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will match up to $2 million total in Facebook donations to nonprofits. The match limit is $50,000 per nonprofit and $1,000 per fundraiser or donate button. While it lasts, WHICH WON'T BE LONG, this is a great way to have your donation to STEEP matched and get that much closer to meeting the STEEP challenge. And Facebook is waiving all donation fees today. Please go here and donate as soon after 8AM EST as you can to have your donation matched. The Show and Tell Energy Education and Policy (STEEP) project will install a solar electric system at the Judy Bonds Center for Appalachian Preservation in Naoma, WV, on the front lines of extreme coal extraction. STEEP will educate about solar as a viable source of energy and employment, show firsthand the deadly impacts of dirty coal in our area, and promote policy to transition from coal to renewables. For example, our outreach coordinator Junior Walk is on the road, speaking to a group in Michigan tonight. And our Coal River Environmental Education for Kids (CREEK) participants will benefit by learning about clean energy at the source.


Putting a CRIMP in Mountaintop Removal

Nov 17, 2017

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection has ordered chronic polluter Alpha Natural Resources subsidiary Republic Energy to comply with the law and maintain their ditches at the Middle Ridge mountaintop removal site on Coal River Mountain. Because of a pattern of regulatory violations, some of which were discovered and reported by Coal River Mountain Watch’s Coal River Intensive Monitoring Project (CRIMP) and local residents, WVDEP and Republic entered into a consent order on November 15, 2017. Under the terms of the order, Republic must suspend coal removal from the site for three consecutive days, not including holidays or holiday weekends. Republic must also properly maintain, certify, and inspect their sediment ditches at the site and monitor rainfall. WVDEP will assess a minimum civil penalty of $3,000 per violation for further violations of drainage control regulations at the site.  It took a lot of support for CRIMP to put a crimp in Alpha’s operation. It takes a lot of work to hold giant coal companies accountable when the agencies tasked with regulating them would rather enable them. Monitoring the ten square miles of mountaintop removal and sludge dam permits on Coal River Mountain is no walk in the park. A lot more must be done to shut down this site and the others that are threatening the health and safety of the community. Please consider supporting the CRIMP project or the closely related Show and Tell Energy Education Project (STEEP) at


A STEEP Climb Lies Ahead

Nov 13, 2017

The biggest part of the Show and Tell Energy Education Project (STEEP) is showing and telling about the deadly and destructive impacts from mountaintop removal and other abuses by the coal industry. This is the way things are, and clean, renewable energy is how things should be. When we get the solar electric array installed at the Judy Bonds Center, we’ll be powered by the sun instead of coal. We’ll be showing that off, hosting an open house, and educating our neighbors and the world that solar works. This is a sharp contrast to mountains being blasted to dust, streams running orange or black, and multi-billion gallon sludge dams looming ominously over communities. These need to be seen to be believed, and believed to be ended.  We still need a lot of help to do the showing and telling. We’ve raised enough to cover the initial installation of the solar array, but not enough yet to cover the battery backup or the showing and telling. Having raised $21,280, we still need to raise $38,720 by the end of 2017 to qualify for a challenge grant of $10,000. Please take the STEEP challenge by chipping in at Thank you!


China Investing in WV Fracking and Chemicals

Nov 11, 2017

On Nov. 9 in Beijing, US President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping were on hand when West Virginia Commerce Sec. H. Wood Thrasher signed a memorandum of understanding with China Energy. The deal is for $83.7 billion in shale gas development and chemical manufacturing projects. Details of the deal are slim; you can read more here.                                                      From the article by Charleston Gazette-Mail reporter Ken Ward Jr., “What kinds of natural gas processing plants, pipelines or cracker plants will China Energy Investment Corp. Ltd. build? Where? How many jobs will be provided and how many of them will go to West Virginians? Is the state’s environmental regulatory system up to the task of protecting residents? What about the long-term climate effects of the drive to burn more fossil fuels? Will this kind of investment in natural gas spell an even faster decline for West Virginia’s already struggling coal industry?”


Great News! Huge STEEP Steps Taken for 100% Solar!

Nov 2, 2017

Coal River Mountain Watch has taken huge STEEP steps to install 100% solar electricity at the Judy Bonds Center for Appalachian Preservation on the front lines of extreme mountaintop removal coal extraction. The Appalachian Stewardship Foundation has approved a grant of $18,500 to fund the initial installation, and we’ve signed the contract with Solar Holler to make it happen. Weather and work schedules permitting, we’ll be powered by the sun in time for yuletide celebrations. But we need your help  to make the most of the Show and Tell Energy Education Project (STEEP). We need a battery backup to keep operating and serve the community when the grid goes out.  And to do the showing and telling—hosting journalists and student groups, providing tours, speaking at events, filming and publicizing the solar power system and the nearby coal impacts—the total project budget is $70,000. The Solutions Project has offered a $10,000 challenge grant if we can raise the other $60,000 by the end of the year. We have more grants pending, but not yet approved. So we need your help to meet this STEEP challenge. Adding recent generous donations to the ASF grant, we’ve raised $20,000, a third of the $60,000 needed to meet the STEEP challenge. If you donate at and write “STEEP” in the note, we will apply it toward the funds needed.                                                              The Show and Tell Energy Education Project (STEEP) will install a solar photovoltaic (PV) system at the Judy Bonds Center for Appalachian Preservation in Naoma, WV, publicize the installation, and educate about the viability of clean energy as an affordable and reliable source of energy and employment. By replacing the 9,409 kWh per year of coal-fired electricity with clean solar generation, we will keep over 10,000 pounds of coal in the ground and over 19,000 pounds of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. We will inform people locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally by hosting an open house, hosting journalists, sending press releases, posting on social media, hosting student groups, and speaking about the project at colleges and other speaking venues. With battery backup, we can be a valuable community resource when (not "if") the next disaster knocks out power to the community. The Judy Bonds Center, right across the road from the Naoma post office, can be that community gathering place where residents can charge their phones, check in with loved ones, check emergency updates, have a hot meal, have a hot shower, and, if necessary, spend the night in one of our 16 beds.


What Lies Upstream? Upwind? Uphill?

Oct 30, 2017

With the recent chemical fire in Parkersburg, WV, burning for days, with the recent revelations of ongoing PCB contamination in Fayette County, with ongoing mountaintop removal, with the 2014 chemical leak that poisoned 300,000 people's tap water, with Upper Big Branch, with Buffalo Creek, with exploding pipelines and oil trains and frack sites, and on and on and on.... You may be asking, "What's going on to make West Virginia a constant state of disaster?" If you've seen documentaries such as On Coal River, Black Diamonds, or Blood on the Mountain, or if you've lived in West Virginia very long, you'll know that powerful industries pull the strings and most of our government "leaders" care little about protecting citizens. Here's another insight into that murky mindset that puts profits before people. What Lies Upstream, a film by Cullen Hoback, is playing this Friday, Nov. 3, 2017, at 7 PM at the Plaza Theater/Capitol Theater, 123 Summers Street, Charleston, WV. This film focuses on the 2014 water crisis. Presented by the West Virginia International Film Festival, it will be preceded by a red carpet and followed by a discussion with the film's director, Cullen Hoback.