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

Click links below to read articles online, or try the PDF version to view or print an exact replica of the paper newsletter. 

Archive list of "E"- Notes newsletters

Click links below to read articles online, or try the PDF version to view or print an exact replica of the paper newsletter. 

Also see Web Extras

OVEC, Others Challenge Blair Mountain Mining Permit
Dont Let Area Power Plants Make Our Air Even Worse
Renewable Energy and a Renewed E-Council
Coal Expo Exposed:
Sludge is Not Safe
Coal Expo Exposed: Protesters Rally at Candlelight Vigil
Are Your US Senators and Reps Climate Champions?
Oberlin College Doing the Right Thing With Education
Bush Admin. Finalizes Mountain Massacre Study
Christians for the Mountains: Statement by Denise Giardina
Christians for the Mountains Spread Word of Responsible Earthkeeping And That Means an End to Mountaintop Removal
Massey Launches Total Environment Web Assault
Reckless Disregard: Settlement doesnt clear Massey, MSHA
Legal Victory! Judge Tosses OSM's Water Rule Approval
WV Passes Landmark Law Curbing 527 Groups
Capito Got Most
DeLay Money
Texas Congressman Kills National Renewable Energy Standard
Coal Industry Money Fuels Public Policy in West Virginia
Reports Detail
Senate Race Donors
Foxes Guarding Henhouse - Why We Need Real Campaign Finance Reform
Unclean Coal: Myth Perpetrators Get an Earful
Coal Very Costly, Not Cheap, If ALL Impacts Are Factored In
T H A N K S !
Update on Blair Mountain - Feds Want Still More Information
SouthWings Needs YOU!
WV Ranked 7th in Mercury Emissions
From Ireland to
Blair Mountain,
with Love and Lyrics
WV Singers and Songwriters Wanted for Blair Mountain Project
Rosa Parks Lights the Way
Holiday Shopping with OVEC
Students Pray for Kayford
Web Extras Below
Articles not in the printed newsletter
Change or Die
Courage to Move Beyond Coal
Climate of Change: It's Easy to Save Money Being Green
Sequestration Smokescreen?
Massey settlement agreement scuttles insider trading allegations
Mining 'is turning Eastern Kentucky into a despicable latrine'
Ecoterrorism Tops the Charts
Human Activities Cause of Current Extinction Crisis
Kentucky needs study on truck weight limits
Meanwhile, elsewhere (jobs, money, renewable energy)
Mining pollution in Coal River needs drastic cut, state says
Not Nice to Wonder?
Things you can do for a better planet (while saving money!)
Where's the money for the Island Creek flood project?
Visiting Van, WV

For viewing the PDF version of the newsletter


Winds of Change Newsletter, December 2005     See sidebar for table of contents

Looking at what the Corps considers minimal impact, you have to wonder what constitutes moderate impact global thermonuclear war?

OVEC, Others Challenge Blair Mountain Mining Permit

As part of an ongoing effort to stop the federal governments illegal permitting of mountaintop removal valley fills, in September the Appalachian Center for the Economy and the Environment and Earthjustice filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for issuing a permit for a large mountaintop removal mine located near an important national historic site.

The attorneys filed the suit on behalf of the members of OVEC, the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy and Coal River Mountain Watch. If successful, our latest major legal attack on mountaintop removal coal could force federal regulators to perform detailed and time-consuming studies before issuing any new mining permits. A victory could also require government agencies to more fully examine potential impacts on forests and streams, and consider those before deciding to allow mining. All of which the agencies should already be doing!

In July 2005, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued the permit, which allows thousands of tons of waste rock and debris from Massey subsidiary Aracoma Coals planned Camp Branch mountaintop removal operation to be dumped into nearby streams, permanently burying them. The mine will not only destroy nearly three miles of stream, but will also impact the nationally important historic site of the 1921 Battle of Blair Mountain. This symbol of coal miners resistance to the tyranny of the coal industry is being considered for the National Register of Historic Places.

We are challenging the Corps finding that Aracomas plan does not significantly affect the quality of the human environment without first conducting a study of the environmental impacts of the huge mining complex. Thats a violation of two federal laws. Previously, the Corps had been issuing rubber-stamp general permits for mountaintop removal mines, but in July 2004 a federal judge, in another OVEC lawsuit, ordered the Corps to stop that method of permitting. This new suit is the first major challenge to the Corps new permitting using individual permits. Unfortunately, we had to challenge the new permitting scheme, because the Corps is still letting the rubber stamp fly doing no real scrutiny of permits and omitting the required studies.

More of that minimal impact the Corps keeps talking about Williams Mountain in all its glorious fall colors, glorious except for the fact that the entire mountain is being removed!

Mountaintop mining has already destroyed over 800 square miles of mountains an area equal to a one-quarter-mile wide swath of destruction from New York to San Francisco. It has buried more than 1,200 miles of headwater streams and uprooted or destroyed untold numbers of generations-old communities in central Appalachia, said Cindy Rank of the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy. In issuing this permit the Army Corps of Engineers has inexplicably reasoned that the environmental damages caused by this mine and mountaintop removal coal mining across the region, are insignificant.

OVEC board member Regina Hendrix added, The Corps is betraying the public trust by leaving a landscape that will not recover for hundreds of years. While no good reason exists to destroy any mountain, this mountain is of great significance to the people and history of West Virginia. The vast wastelands left by mountaintop removal not only rob us of our economic future, but this mine also infringes on our past by impacting the Blair Mountain historic site. If preserved as a national historic landmark, the Blair Mountain site can help revitalize the tourist economy and provide an economic future for the area long after the coal industry has gone.

Mountaintop removal mining is a callous, irresponsible, egregious method of mining coal. It creates false prosperity enriching the few at a great cost to large areas of Appalachian people and the environment, said Janice Nease, executive director of Coal River Mountain Watch. Southern West Virginia has become an energy sacrifice zone in the nations quest for cheap energyCoal River Mountain Watch has accepted the challenge of ending mountaintop removal mining. We hope that the rest of the nation will join us in meeting this challenge.

In November, we added another permit to this lawsuit the permit the Corps issued to Elk Run Coal, another Massey subsidiary, for its Black Castle Mine in Boone County.


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