Jul 25, 2011
On Tuesday August 9th at 7pm at the Raleigh Boone Technical Center in Pettus, the WV Department of Environmental Protection is hosting a public hearing on the renewal of the Bee Tree mountaintop removal permit on Coal River Mountain. The Bee Tree permit is the only mountaintop removal permit on Coal River Mountain that is currently active, with 75 acres destroyed as of January this year. Even though Alpha Natural Resources (which recently bought out Massey) has not yet applied for any valley fill permits, our analysis shows that they will be able to destroy at least 200 acres of their 1095-acre permit without valley fills.
The Bee Tree has a history of violations, with 3 violations in the past year - for mining where they weren't supposed to, disposing of their waste material inappropriately, and failing to properly construct and maintain sediment control systems.
Local residents have long expressed concerns with blasting on the Bee Tree site, which they fear occurs dangerously close to the Brushy Fork impoundment. A catastrophic failure of the Brushy Fork impoundment would wipe out at least a thousand people living downstream. Recently, the federal Office of Surface Mining issued a 10-day notice to the Department of Environmental Protection for failure to prove that the dam is sufficiently safe from liquefaction.
Come to the hearing and make your voice heard!
Update: the Department of Environmental Protection denied our request to re-schedule the hearing for the Collins Fork Remediation Project, so that hearing will be combined with the Bee Tree renewal hearing (same time and place). The proposed Collins Fork permit is an 831-acre permit that includes contour mining, highwall mining, and steep slope strip mining. The mining plan includes one valley fill, although Marfork Coal Company (a subsidiary of Alpha Natural Resources, which recently bought Massey Energy) has not yet applied for their valley fill permit.