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Renewable Energy on Coal River Mountain


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Update: Blasting has begun on Coal River Mountain
Blasting has begun on Massey Energy's Bee Tree Mine, at the closest possible spot to the Brushy Fork Impoundment—200 feet away. More information about the strip mine permits on Coal River Mountain is in the Renewable Energy on Coal River Mountain theme.
 
Residents, after trying for a year to meet with Gov. Joe Manchin to ask him to block blasting on the mountain, showed up on Oct. 19 with a sit-in for support. 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.” The two videos below include his exchange with Lorelei Scarboro of Coal River Mountain Watch.
 
Massey has already received blasting violations at this site because, according to a Nov. 11, 2009, Charleston Gazette article, “they repeatedly used incorrect calculations that led to a larger explosive load than allowed by law, DEP officials said.” Ken Ward, Jr., continued in the article: “DEP inspector Sandra Duncan wrote in the notice that Massey designed its blast assuming that the closest structure to the blast site was a gas well located at the mine. But, a two-inch underground gas line is actually located closer to the blast site, according to the violation notice.”
 
 
Eight days later, EPA stepped up its oversight of the Bee Tree Mine and wrote Marfork Coal Company president Chris Blanchard a letter (PDF) dated Nov. 19. “EPA is concerned that Marfork Coal Company may be committing significant resources and conducting operations in reliance on a Section 404 [valley fill] permit that has not been issued,” EPA said in the letter. EPA also asked for an extensive amount of information from Marfork about the Bee Tree Mine. More background is available on the Coal Tattoo.
 
On the heels of EPA's letter, four activists with Climate Ground Zero stopped a drill rig on the Bee Tree Mine for the eighteenth direct civil resistance action in 2009, all focused on stopping mountaintop removal.