Release: Coalfield Residents Deliver Letters to Alpha Energy: Cease Mountaintop Removal Operations

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011
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Coalfield Residents Demand Alpha Energy Cease Mountaintop Removal Operations

Press contact: Kim Ellis, 304-860-5041
[email protected]

UPDATE: Second letter added, this one from Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards at the bottom of this page.

ABINGDON, Va.­—Coalfield residents and allies from West Virginia and Virginia are traveling today to the headquarters of Alpha Natural Resources to demand an end to invasive surface mining in their communities.

Alpha has recently announced its acquisition of AT Massey, a Richmond-based coal company with a long history of permit and safety violations and a reputation for a general disregard for the land and people of Appalachia. These Appalachians and their allies demand that Alpha cease the destructive practices perpetuated by Massey and explore safe and lasting alternatives to surface mining in their communities.

“With the takeover of Massey, we are here to demand that Alpha stop destroying our mountains and communities. It’s our hope that Alpha will become a responsible energy company and invest in a healthy and sustainable future for Appalachia,” said Junior Walk, a staff member of Coal River Mountain Watch and a life-long resident of West Virginia’s Coal River Valley.

“We stand in solidarity with our friends in West Virginia who, like ourselves, continue to suffer from the toxic and devastating results of mountaintop removal coal mining,” said Jane Branham, Vice-President of Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards. “I hear the same stories from people all over the world who see big fossil fuel industries invade their homes and rape their land for profit. Those communities do not profit by digging, drilling, fracking and blasting. They not only see their land and water destroyed; they see worsening poverty, negative health impacts, and despair. Coalfield communities are among the poorest in our states. The only profiteers are the coal industry; the people are the losers.”

At 1:30 p.m. today, Alpha representatives will be presented with a letter outlining their demands that can be read here. They will also be given a copy of a study that outlines the many economic, social, public health, and environmental benefits that would result from a Coal River Mountain wind farm, as an alternative to surface mining. The study can be found here (PDF).

Coalfield residents and their allies hope to meet soon with representatives of Alpha to discuss how the company can work with coalfield communities to build alternatives to surface mining that will respect the land and the people. If Alpha is unwilling to put a stop to the destruction, the residents state they will continue their struggle on a local, state, and national level to abolish mountaintop removal mining and reclaim communities that have been devastated by this practice. According to Junior Walk, “If [Alpha] continues to poison us, our friends, and our families, as Massey has, we have a lot of people in our corner willing to stand up and fight beside us.”

For more information, see:

One Response to “Release: Coalfield Residents Deliver Letters to Alpha Energy: Cease Mountaintop Removal Operations”

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