Front Porch Blog

Concerned Citizens Take a Stand at Coal River Mountain

Residents have lost faith in their state government, long known to be friendly to coal interests, and have taken their plea nationally. Climate expert James Hansen, the head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies and the man who first testified to the existence of global warming, asked President Obama to “please look at Coal River Mountain, your strongest supporters are counting on you to stop this madness.”

Their concerns about their safety and the reality of the alternatives are well documented. A 2008 report by the federal Office of Surface Mining revealed serious deficiencies in the WVDEP’s regulation of coal waste dams ( The Coal River Wind Project relies on wind studies, and economic analyses of the benefits of wind vs. mountaintop removal for the community. The project received the 2008 Building Economic Alternatives Award from Co-op America.

“We can’t sit by while Massey jeopardizes the lives and homes of thousands of people,” said Vernon Haltom of Naoma. “Governor Manchin and the West Virginia Dept. of Environmental Protection have proven that they are unwilling to protect the citizens. What do they expect us to do? Will they wait until we’re in body bags to take this threat seriously?” In November, WVDEP approved a permit revision allowing Massey to begin the mountaintop removal operation. Despite citizens’ objections, DEP denied public participation in its decision process.

“We need to stop the madness and stop Massey from blowing up our beautiful mountain,” resident Gary Andersen adds. “We need to go with the better energy option, and that’s a wind farm, which is perfect for Coal River Mountain. We could have a green energy future for the country, starting right here.”

For updates, photos and video footage, go to

West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin’s office can be reached at 1-888-438-2731, or you can contact his office online using our simple web form to email the governor.




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