“It was usually around July you could go up there and sit and it was like the annual bear gathering up there… The whole area was full of laurels. The bears had tunnels through them, it was so thick…What’s going on today you know with the Brushy Fork of course, that whole area has just about been stripped out now, and that’s all been taken away.” Ed Wiley on Coal River Mountain
MARFORK, W.Va. – Protestors associated with Climate Ground Zero and Mountain Justice have locked to and shut down a brhighwall miner on Coal River Mountain today. Colin Flood, 22, and Katie Huszcza, 21, are locked to the mining equipment on Massey Energy’s Bee Tree Surface Mine, near to the Brushy Fork Sludge Impoundment (maps: zoomed out, up-close). Their banner states “Save Coal River Mountain” alongside images of ginseng, a morel, a deer and a black bear, the West Virginia state animal.
The human rights activists locked down in order to bring attention to the many local resources that will be lost if blasting on Coal River Mountain continues. This destruction led the four protesters, including 22-year-old Jimmy Tobias and 20-year-old Sophie Kern, both of whom acted as direct support, to take part in the action. “These mountains are home to some of the most biologically diverse temperate forests in the world and contain a variety of precious flora and fauna including edible and medicinal plants that can save lives, a wide array of extremely nutritious mushrooms, old growth forest and an abundance of deer and trout,” Huszcza said, “Coal River Mountain is priceless.”
Our Friends from Rainforest Action Network staged a sit-in this morning at EPA Headquarters, where activists occupied the lobby and used metal lock boxes to lock themselves together. The sit-in was to bring attention to EPA’s newly approved Pine Creek mountaintop removal permit in Logan County, West Virginia. This was a horrendous first decision,after last April it was anticipated that the EPA was going to be enforcing stricter MTR guidelines.
Photo by Chris Eichler Copyright Rainforest Action Network
Much-Lauded Strict Mountaintop Mining Guidelines Not So Strict
EPA’s First Decision Under New Mountaintop Mining Guidelines is to Approve Coal Permit; Permit Would Create Three New Valley Fills
SAN FRANCISCO– Just last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency gave the Army Corps of Engineers a green light for the Pine Creek mine permit, a mountaintop removal (MTR) mining site in Logan County, W.Va. This is the first permit decision the EPA has issued under the new mountaintop mining guidelines, which came out last April and were anticipated to provide tougher oversight of mountaintop removal coal mining.
The new MTR guidelines were understood to provide greater protection for headwater streams by curbing the practice of dumping waste in neighboring valleys to create what is known as valley fills. The Pine Creek permit is the first test of these guidelines, and green lights three new valley fills (each over 40 acres large). It was anticipated that these guidelines, by requiring mining operators to control levels of toxins in nearby streams, would significantly reduce the dumping of mining waste in valleys, which the EPA said was scientifically proven to contaminate drinking water and wreck ecosystems.