At 4:31 pm, Feb. 13, 2009, a massive blast detonated at Cherry Pond Mountain, in the Coal River Valley, directly across from the proposed site of the Coal River Wind Project on the great Coal River Mountain, West Virginia. The blast was set off on Clays Branch, an Appalachian mountain hollow that is currently being ripped apart by mountaintop removal coal mining. Debris rained down and the acrid aftermath of the blast obscured the valley in a smothering cloud of gritty smoke.
Clays Branch is par of Cherry Pond Mountain, which stretches east along Rt 3 to Bolt Mountain (Rt 99). Clays Branch is located above Marsh Fork Elementary School, above the 2.8 billion gallon sludge pond at Shumate and up the left hand fork of Shumate hollow. This was massive MTR blasting. Next to an unstable sludge dam, above a school and surrounded by mountain communities.
About ten minutes after the three long horn blasts sounded, this massive explosion detonated on the mountaintop removal site above Danny Williams’ home. The Williams home sits at the head of Clays Branch – the blast was set above him, just over the ridge.About ten minutes after the three long horn blasts sounded, this massive explosion detonated on the mountaintop removal site above Danny Williams’ home. The Williams home sits at the head of Clays Branch – the blast was set above him, just over the ridge.
The acrid cloud of gritty blast smoke almost completely obscured the valley. Directly across Route 3 is Coal River Mountain. photographs by Antrim Caskey
Marfork, West Virginia — On the heels of the TVA coal ash sludge disaster in Harriman, Tennessee, where 1.1 billion gallons of toxic coal ash sludge collapsed into the Clinch and Emory Riveres, concerned citizens in southern West Virginia have been fighting to stop the coal mining of Coal River Mountain and to build instead the Coal River Wind project, which would create clean jobs in perpetuity.