August 8 – National Call In Day to Protect Coal River Watershed

Sunday, August 7th, 2011
posted by rampsmedia

On Monday, August 8th, tell the Department of Environmental Protection to deny the Bee Tree Renewal Permit and prohibit future strip mining in the Coal River Watershed.

On Tuesday August 9th, local residents are gearing up for an important hearing on the renewal of the Bee Tree permit and the proposed Collins Fork Remediation Project, a strip mine on the other side of the mountain. We are asking folks to call the DEP and let them know how strong the opposition is to the destruction of the Coal River Watershed.

The Beetree permit encompasses approximately 1000 acres of 5000 proposed, active, and permitted mining in the upper Coal River Watershed. State and Federal Regulators have failed to consider community concerns and properly assess cumulative impacts of mining in the Coal River Watershed.

DEP Telephone No. 304-465-1911

Hello, My name is _________ I live in __________. I am calling because I oppose the Bee Tree surface mining permit (S301004). Tomorrow evening is the scheduled hearing about renewing this permit. I urge you to listen to mine and many others concerns. The Bee Tree permit is one of the mountaintop removal permits on Coal River Mountain, the last major mountain of the Coal River watershed that hasn’t been significantly impacted by mountaintop removal mining. Mountaintop removal permits on Coal River Mountain were issued despite strong opposition from the local community and despite the fact that this watershed has already been seriously degraded by mining.

Sample Talking Points-

* A recent study found that mountaintop removal mining negatively impacts the health of local residents (K. Zullig and M. Hendryx, “Health-related quality of life among central Appalachian residents in mountaintop mining counties,” American Journal of Public Health, 101(5): 848-853, 2011). These health impacts were previously unknown and are not addressed in SMCRA or any laws governing surface mining. The DEP should immediately place a moratorium on mountaintop removal mining until the health impacts have been properly studied and addressed.

* Local residents have raised many concerns regarding the Brushy Fork Slurry Impoundment, which was built on top of a honeycomb of underground mines and approved by the same engineer who designed the Upper Big Branch mine’s ventilation plan. An independent study that does not rely on Massey’s engineers shall be conducted to determine the impact blasting my have on the leakage or  break through into underground mines.

* Mining operations along Clear Fork and Marsh Fork have caused severe flooding and water pollution in the past. A thorough assessment of the cumulative hydrological impacts from mining operations in these watersheds needs to be conducted before this permit is renewed.

* Coal River Mountain is the last relatively untouched mountain in the entire Coal River watershed. The DEP should consider using its authority to designate the mountain as off-limits to surface mining given the health impacts, environmental impacts and loss of habitat surface mining has already occurring in the watershed.

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