Campaign History


Coal River Mountain Watch and other organizations have pursued a multi-pronged strategy to try to stop mountaintop removal mining on Coal River Mountain.

CRMW requested hearings on the Bee Tree and Eagle 2 permits and organized community members to come to these hearings and voice their opposition to the permits. The Coal River Wind project was proposed to the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection during hearings for the Eagle 2 permit as an alternative use of the land that would be better both economically and environmentally for the local area. CRMW also unsuccessfully appealed a revision of the Bee Tree permit to the Department of Environmental Protection's Surface Mine Board.

CRMW has also repeatedly called attention to the dangers of blasting near the Brushy Fork impoundment, a coal slurry impoundment permitted to hold 9 billion gallons of coal slurry on Coal River Mountain (it currently holds about 5.5 billion gallons). Residents, after trying for a year to meet with Gov. Joe Manchin to ask him to block blasting on the mountain, finally lodged a sit-in in his office in October 2009. The residents got their meeting with the governor and asked him to issue a “stay of execution” for Coal River Mountain. Among his responses, he said “It's hard to find a balance in an extraction state.” (More info on early legal challenges to the permitting of the Brushy Fork impoundment.)

Photo Credit: Jen Osha

As part of the movement to end mountaintop removal, some people are undertaking non-violent civil resistance to block mountaintop removal mining on Coal River Mountain, following the tradition of the anti-strip mining movement in the 1970s and countless other social movements. Since 2009, there have been more than 70 arrests in nine separate actions on Coal River Mountain. Last January activists with Climate Ground Zero and Mountain Justice stopped blasting on the Bee Tree permit for nine days as they occupied trees on the edge of one of the coal haul roads on the mountain.  In summer 2011, the RAMPS Campaign organized a month-long tree sit on the Bee Tree surface mine on Coal River Mountain.