Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition
Archive list of "E"- Notes newsletters

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Winds of Change
July 2004

Contents

David Roars, Goliath Blinks - the People WIN

ANOTHER Victory! - U.S. Judge Curtails Valley Fills

The Faces of OVEC

Moving Mountains: New CD Speaks the Truth about MTR

New MTR Music CD Already Setting Sales Records, Funding Projects

A BIG Thanks!

Coalfield Flooding, Again...

People Cant Survive
If Land is Dead

Coalfield Flooding; A Heartfelt Letter from the Floodlands Tells It Like It Is

Thoughts from Logan County Residents on May 31, 2004, Flooding

BIG Thanks 2!

The State of Clean Elections in West Virginia and Arizona

A Clean Elections Victory in New Jersey

DEMOCRACY WORKS!

Voter Empowerment Plan Proves Successful on Election Day

Your Donations Add Up To A Great Big Help for Us

Whitesville MTR Trip Sparks Talk of Student Activism

Coalfield Residents Speak the TRUTH

The Masses Amass Against Maniacal, Messy Massey

He said what a native son should; Judge Haden defended W.Va.

Ted Williams on Conservation

SouthWings Helps OVEC Bring Home the Full Horror of Mountaintop Removal Mining in Appalachia

It's A Small World - Big City Happenings with MTR

Limited Special Membership Offer - Get A Free Collectible When You Join OVEC to Help Stop Mountain Range Removal in West Virginia

Miscellany

Web Extra Articles Below
(not in printed newsletter)

Id Like a Tuna On White Hold The Mercury!

Wendell Berry: People can't survive if land is dead


For viewing the PDF version

 

Coalfield Flooding

Weve Already Answered This Question, Again and Again and ...
by Vivian Stockman
In the wee hours of Memorial Day 2004, southern West Virginia again experienced devastating flooding. A man, helping his mother clean out this flooded Logan home, wondered why the government agencies and the coal industry refuse to tell the truth about mountaintop removal and flooding. As he stood in several inches of muck, the man said, "I am standing in the truth right here."

Do mountaintop removal and virtually unregulated logging make flooding worse? If you live near a mountaintop removal operation, you know the answer. If you are a coal-operator or a politician beholden to the coal industry, you dodge that question.

Like the Fossil Fuel Fools occupying the White House who deny the effects of global warming (even though the Pentagon and scientists note that the global warming threat is more severe than the threat from terrorism), King Coals Cronies deny the effects that lopped-off, denuded mountains and buried valleys have on flooding.

In a June 29 editorial advocating that the federal government buy people out of flood-prone areas, the Charleston Daily Mail said:

"One thing that could help is the creation of more flat land. But mountaintop mining is not without controversy and some even contend that it exacerbates the flooding problem.

"That is a matter for hydrologists to debate."

(Due to space limitations for this particular newsletter, we cant address the Daily Mails absurd idea that the state needs more flat land when mountaintop removal has already scalped nearly 400,000 acres; nor can we, in this edition, explore the fears that coalfield residents have about coal company desires to depopulate the coalfields, which the Daily Mail could be construed as endorsing.)

More debate? Please! People have drowned, property is being destroyed, and the coal companies are whisking more money out of state, while taxpayers shell out millions for the flood cleanups. More debate when there have been so many studies?

Memorial Day home redecorating, courtesy of flooding enhanced by mountaintop removal mining.

As the Charleston Gazettes Ken Ward reported, in June 2002, the WV Department of Environmental Protection was forced into releasing a report on the July 8, 2001 floods. The report said that during that flood, logging and timbering increased water runoff by 5.6 percent at the mouth of Seng Creek (Boone Co.) and by almost 14 percent at the mouth of Scrabble Creek (Fayette Co.). Runoff increased further upstream at Seng Creek by as much as 9 percent, and by as much as 21 percent upstream at Scrabble Creek.

In May 2003, the United States Geological Survey released a study with findings showing that during typical West Virginia summer thunderstorms, peak flows from valley-filled, mined areas were much greater than they were from un-mined areas.

A January 2000 study by the Office of Surface Mining and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers concluded, "This study shows that an ongoing valley fill operation will increase the discharge from 25-59 percent (10-100 year) from pre-mining conditions; this decreases to about 13 percent after the area is reclaimed in the post mining conditions."

News reports of the recent, deadly (over 2,000 dead!) floods in Haiti and the Dominican Republic stated a non-debatable fact: "With no tree roots to hold soil on the mountains, the torrential rainwater barreled down unchecked, collecting silt, gravel and boulders that slammed into villages" (Deforestation at Root of Devastating Haiti Floods, by Paisley Dodds, Associated Press, June 6, 2004).

Commenting on the Memorial Day 2004 flooding in Mingo and Logan counties, Bill Raney, president of the WV Coal Association, told the Associated Press, "I just really think what were ending up with is more water falling from the sky in a more concentrated fashion, in a shorter period of time and in a smaller area. Now thats not popular because there isnt anyone to blame in that. ...I do understand the need to lay blame, but there is no clear bad guy here."

While trying to deny the role the mountaintop removal coal-extraction process has in the latest floods, Raney inadvertently pointed out the role that the burning of coal has in global warming making stronger storms.

On June 13, the United Nations University released a study warning that the number of people under threat from major flooding will double to 2 billion within 50 years. The cause? Deforestation, the burning of fossil fuels (coal and oil) and population growth.

Do mountaintop removal and virtually unregulated logging make flooding worse? Weve got the studies. Weve got the proof. Weve got to demand the changes we need.

 

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