Front Porch Blog

Historic Meeting Between Coal Region Residents and Alpha CEO Goes…Ok, Actually

Residents from West Virginia held a historic meeting this weekend with the CEO of Alpha Natural Resources, the company set to take over mountaintop removal-giant Massey Energy holdings. According to the press release, the CEO actually seemed receptive to examining expressed concerns such as blasting near Brushy Fork Impoundment, which residents fear is weakening the structural integrity of the dam.

“I knew that they weren’t going to agree to stop strip mining, but I wanted to tell them about the health issues in our communities,” said Michael Clark, a board member of Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards. “I was impressed that the CEO was there. They didn’t do a lot of talking and seemed very interested in hearing what we had to say.”

Residents also asked Alpha to consider switching to a dry method of processing coal, abandoning altogether the wet process which results in massive amounts of coal slurry, which is then poured into impoundments or injected into old coal mines, resulting in severe groundwater contamination in some communities.

The Alpha CEO requested a follow-up meeting in July, once the company has acquired Massey and has had time to investigate concerns presented.

According to Paul Corbit-Brown of Pax, WV:

“They haven’t made any promises, but they want to continue the dialogue and they are interested in our specific suggestions. This is the most hope I’ve had for there to be a very meaningful dialogue.”

Read the full press release at RampsCampaign.org

Jamie is an Appalachian native with a deep and unshakeable love of the mountains her family has called home since the mid-1700s. With a background in journalism and communications, she has worked as AV's Senior Communications Coordinator since 2008, and served as editor (2008-2016) and consulting editor (2016-present) for The Appalachian Voice.



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