Front Porch Blog

Mountain Monday: The Cure for Coal

We’ve reached a cross-roads in Appalachia. We can choose between the economically and environmentally destructive resource of coal, or clean, green, economically invigorating industrial wind power. Right now there is a battle going on at Coal River Mountain to decide whether to turn the mountain into a mountaintop removal site or an industrial wind farm (learn more), and in order to save this mountain and the surrounding communities, we need your help.

1) Visit to get involved!
2) Sign the petition to save Coal River Mountain, and help us start up the first industrial wind power site in the coalfields of West Virginia.
3) Join 600 other bloggers in the iLoveMountains Bloggers Challenge and help us spread the word about mountaintop removal

Lowell at RaisingKaine has an appropriate post this morning called “Wait, Wasn’t Coal Supposed to be Great for Southwest Virginia?” which is Virginia specific, but supplies an apt description for a plurality of the Appalachian coalfield communities.

Isn’t it wonderful how, when debating mountaintop removal or new coal-fired power plants in southwestern Virginia, the argument that seems to trump all others is the “economic benefit” all this coal digging and burning will bring to SWVA communities? Well, so much for that theory:

The coal-fired power plant under construction outside St. Paul, Va., was not the first to promise jobs, economic development and prosperity for Southwest Virginia. The same promises were made here 50 years ago when the Clinch River Plant was built.

“The coming of the plant into Southwest Virginia will stimulate other plants to locate in the area and to utilize the vast natural resources. It will mark the beginning of a new era,” said American Electric Power President Philip Sporn at the plant’s groundbreaking on May 16, 1956.


In half a century, the jobs have not materialized, and there is a sharp difference in opinion on whether the company has kept its promises.

The people who live here in the shadow of the smokestacks say the plant’s negative effects go beyond dust and noise. They say it has destroyed their community’s spirit and reduced its numbers, and many claim that there are high numbers of cancer cases among Carbo residents.

Einstein famously said, “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

More investment in coal means more mountaintop removal.
More mountaintop removal in Appalachia means more poverty.
More mountaintop removal in Appalachia means fewer mining jobs.
More mountaintop removal in Appalachia means more toxic waste our drinking water.
More mountaintop removal in Appalachia probably means more toxic waste in your drinking water if you live in the eastern US.
More mountaintop removal in Appalachia means fewer mountains.
More mountaintop removal in Appalachia means more global climate change.
Its established that there are NO good consequences for this pillaging of our homeland.

So why in the world, in the face of skyrocketing coal prices and decreasing production, should we blow up Coal River Mountain? Especially when we have a chance to create more energy and more jobs with industrial wind at the same site. Please join the fight and help us change Appalachia and move our country away from mountaintop removal coal.

Thats it for this morning. If you care to add a link to, or video of your favorite Appalachian music in the comments, I’m sure we’d enjoy hearing it. 🙂





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