Scroll down to view resource sections: regulatory agencies, mountain-top removal explained, organizations fighting MTR, related campaigns, films about mtr, media voices, direct action, and materials for download.

Stand up to Intimidation

Whistleblower Protections

Jury Nullification – Think an activist should be found not guilty because they were doing the right thing? You can do that legally, despite what a judge may tell you. Read more to find out.

The Strip Mining Handbook – The Strip Mining Handbook was written to give citizens in mining areas a fighting chance to protect their homes and communities from the ravages of mining operations by providing them with the tools they need to understand the law and use the often complex provisions of SMCRA to their advantage.

Appalachian Center for the Economy & the Environment – The APP Center is a regional law and policy organization that works together with individual citizens and grassroots citizens’ groups to clarify, analyze and act on the environmental and economic issues that affect our communities. The coal mine permit tracker is a valley fill database.

Appalachian Citizens’ Law Center – a nonprofit law firm that fights for justice in the coalfields by representing coal miners and their families on issues of Black Lung and mine safety and by working with grassroots groups and individuals to protect the land and people from misuse and degradation caused by extractive industries. The Center handles individual cases and engages in strategic litigation and policy work in the areas of mine safety and health, environmental protection and sustainable energy.

Coal River Mountain Watch Local Resources Page – CRMW asks: Are you being affected by a mine site, prep plant, impoundment, blasting, flooding, dust, polluted water, coal trucks, or any other coal company related problem? The following pages contain information for dealing with some of the issues you might be facing.

Honest Appalachia– Honest Appalachia is designed to help whistleblowers anonymously leak documents to journalists and the public.

Regulatory Agencies

Mountaintop Removal Mining Explained

I Love Mountains -Your most comprehensive one-stop-shop for everything about mountaintop removal! Watch videos, read blogs (or start your own), research the politics and economics of coal, and find out your local connection to destructive surface mining.

What is mountaintop removal? —Mountain Justice – Describes the five-step process of mountaintop removal coal mining, supported by several clear and educational diagrams.

Journey Up Coal River – A fascinating, interactive mapping project that combines music, audio, photography and the written word to tell the story of the Coal River Valley, West Virginia. This information-dense site is probably the best place to get started learning about what’s going on in this part of Appalachia, with much that can be extrapolated and compared to other parts of Appalachia.

Plundering Appalachia: The Tragedy of Mountaintop-Removal Coal Mining -Explains cradle to grave: coals deadly legacy. The book is a searing exposé, in words and images.

Google Earth Appalachian Mountaintop Removal layer-on this global awareness layer, you can watch videos, track you connection to MTR, take a high resolution tour of a mine site, and read first hand stories from folks impacted by MTR.

OVEC Health Studies Log – Lists the studies that have been done on MTR.

Organizations Opposing Mountaintop Removal in Appalachia

Mountain Justice – A collaborative grassroots effort dedicated to resisting mountaintop removal and raising awareness of sustainable energy alternatives in Appalachia.

Appalachia Rising – A regional network dedicated to supporting marches and mobilizations opposing mountaintop removal mining.

Coal River Mountain Watch – A prominant organization in the coal river valley, WV thats mission is to stop the destruction of our communities and environment by mountaintop removal mining, to improve the quality of life in our area and to help rebuild sustainable communities. CRMW is a grassroots organization begun in 1998 in response to the fear and frustration of people living near or downstream from huge mountaintop removal sites.

Keepers of the Mountains Foundation – The Keeper of the Mountains Foundation aims to educate and inspire people to work for healthier, more sustainable mountain communities and an end to mountaintop removal. They are running the On The Road Again Program to build our movement for justice inside and outside Appalachia.

Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition – A nonprofit organization dedicated to the improvement and preservation of the Ohio Valley environment through education, grassroots organizing, coalition building, leadership development, and media outreach. Check out their MTR Stops Here campaign, where they are trying to by land in a community that has been purchased and decimated by Massey Energy.

Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards – An organization of concerned community members in Virginia and their allies who are working to stop the destruction of local communities by surface coal mining, to improve the quality of life in our area, and to help rebuild sustainable communities

United Mountain Defense – “…A volunteer driven nonprofit organization committed to halting mountaintop removal coal mining in Tennessee and assisting coal impacted communities.”

Rainforest Action Network’s Coal Campaigns – For over a decade RAN has paired corporate negotiations with grassroots pressure tactics to move banks to pass strong environmental policies.

Related Campaigns

Friends of Blair Mountain – Group working on the fight to save Blair Mountain, the site of the largest labor insurrection in U.S. history. June 6-11, 2011, hundreds will participate in a five-day march from the West Virginia state capitol at Charleston to the slopes of Blair Mountain.

Appalachian Center for the Economy & the Environment – a regional law and policy organization. The App Center works together with individual citizens and grassroots citizens’ groups to clarify, analyze and act on the environmental and economic issues that affect our communities.

Sludge Safety Project – The Sludge Safety project is working towards eliminating coal slurry impoundments and underground injections, improving water quality for West Virginia (that has been devastated by coal mining), and demanding alternative methods for coal waste disposal.

Peaceful Uprising – Peaceful Uprising is a nonprofit collective committed to action to combat the climate crisis and build a just, healthy world. They seek to inspire citizens to recognize themselves as agents of change, and to build communities that empower and enable each of us to take effective, necessary nonviolent action.

Southwings – SouthWings is a conservation and public benefit aviation non-profit that provides skilled pilots and aerial education to enhance conservation efforts across the Southeast.

Rising Tide North America – Rising Tide is an international, all-volunteer, grassroots network of groups and individuals who organize locally, promote community-based solutions to the climate crisis and take direct action to confront the root causes of climate change.


Beehive Design Collective – The Bees’ graphics campaigns take on a variety of ecological and social issues. Last year, their True Cost of Coal poster, about mountaintop removal in Appalachia, was released.

Shaleshock – Protecting Northern Appalachian communities from exploitative gas drilling.

Black Mesa Water Coalition and Black Mesa Indigenous Support – Black Mesa Indigenous Support (BMIS) is a grassroots, all volunteer run collective dedicated to working with and supporting the indigenous peoples of Black Mesa in their Struggle for Life and Land who are targeted by & resisting unjust large-scale coal mining operations and forced relocation policies of the US government.

RRENEW Collective – Remembering and Renergizing Neighbors Economies and Watersheds – The RRENEW Collective was created in the Summer of 2009 in the spirit of facilitating the placement of volunteers with organizations working for a sustainable Appalachia in the coal dependent region of Southwest Virginia.

Indigenous Environmental Network – “A network of Indigenous Peoples empowering Indigenous Nations and communities towards sustainable livelihoods, demanding environmental justice and maintaining the Sacred Fire of our traditions.”

Films about mountaintop removal

Low Coal – Low Coal is an exploration of what it’s like to live with the coal industry. Telling the stories of activists and injured miners, Low Coal makes the case that strong and resilient Appalachian communities are paying a heavy price for the benefits to the region that the coal industry provides. Watch it for free on the website!

The Last Mountain -The mining and burning of coal is at the epicenter of America’s struggle to balance its energy needs with environmental concerns. Nowhere is that concern greater than in Coal River Valley, West Virginia, where a small but passionate group of ordinary citizens are trying to stop Big Coal corporations, like Massey Energy, from continuing the devastating practice of Mountain Top Removal.

Coal Country– tells of the dramatic struggle around the use of coal, which provides over half the electricity in America.

ON COAL RIVER – The film follows a former coal miner and his neighbors in a David-and-Goliath struggle for the future of their valley, their children, and life as they know it.

Black Diamonds – The film illustrates in graphic detail the destructive effects of mountaintop removal seen through the eyes of local citizens, as well as national experts. Upon its release in 2006, Black Diamonds was the first comprehensive overview of surface mining.

other related films we recommend: Mine War on Blackberry Creek (streaming free), Matewan

Media Voices

Coal Tattoo – The most up-to-date resource for coal-related media in West Virginia! A blog component of the West Virginia Gazette newspaper. The author frequently shares exciting “insider” info, and therefore has quite a following of addicted readers.

Appalshop Arts & Education Center – A non-profit, multi-disciplinary arts and education center in the heart of Appalachia producing original films, video, theater, music and spoken-word recordings, radio, photography, multimedia, and books. Effectively utilizes various art forms to help preserve Appalachian history and culture.

Earth First! Journal -the voice of the radical environmental movement.

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press – Created in 1970 when journalists were being forced by the government to break confidentiality agreements, this organization still exists today to offer and support free legal guidance for members of public media.

Direct Action

Ruckus Society Action Planning Manual – A basic introduction to the concepts, organization, and execution of nonviolent direct action (NVDA)

Praxis makes Perfect – a cohesive list of tools and resources for change agents. This is still a work-in-progress

Smart Meme – Center for Story-based Strategy



Read our page about nonviolent civil resistance.

Blogs we Like

The Thougtful Coal Miner – These are the thoughts and chronicles of a former 4th generation Appalachian coal miner trying to figure it out for coal miners across the nation. “Like many I understand the need for good paying jobs, but I don’t believe we should be selling our souls to the coal industry for them.”


Blair Mountain Zine: This introductory zine is about the 1921 Battle of Blair Mountain and contemporary issues surrounding the historic battlefield (including mountaintop removal permits). You can download a version you can read off of your computer, and a version you cant print out and fold.

Poster by Sara Lynch Thomason.

Clean coal is a dirty lie, 11x17 poster

11×17 poster. Suggestion: print on glossy in greyscale, sell for $5 as a fundraiser. Image courtesy of Mountain Justice.