by Bill Price, Sierra Club Environmental Justice Coordinator |
150 concerned citizens gather in Charleston to demand more wind energy instead of mountaintop removal coal mining
On September 16, over 150 activists gathered at the State Capital in CharlestonWV to demand that their Governor support the Coal River MountainWind Project. The Coal River MountainWind Project is the attempt by the local communities along the Marsh Fork and Clear Fork tributaries of the Coal River Valley to have sustainable, long-term, green jobs for their communities instead of the destruction brought by Mountain Top Removal coal mining.
Massey Energy has applied for permits that would destroy 6,600 acres of mountain in the Coal River Valley which would add to the destruction that these communities have been facing over the past several years. Instead local resident, with support of other organizations, including the Sierra Club Environmental Justice program and National Coal Campaign, are banding together and advocating for 122 wind turbines along the ridges. A study last year showed that a wind farm on Coal River Mountain would provide 1.16 million
Megawatts of energy, enough to power 150,000 homes. Direct construction jobs provided would be over 200 for a 2-year period, with 40-50 permanent jobs provided. This wind project will save one mountain and the surrounding communities from the decimation of the land, resources and residents that result from the blowing up of mountains and the filling of valleys with mining waste. It would also exist as a symbol of hope and change and the breaking of the oppressive coal stranglehold on southernWest Virginia’s economy and its communities who have suffered for so long.
Lorelei Scarbro was born and raised in the Coal River Valley. She is the daughter and wife of coal miners. She has been active in the fight to save rural schools inWest Virginia and is now fighting for a clean just energy future for West Virginia and the Nation. Ms. Scarbro says, “If we are successful in erecting the wind farm, not only will we save the mountain, but we will save a large part of the Appalachian Culture. If Massey is allowed to proceed everything I have here is at risk. The choice is clear”.
Coal has supplied the nation electricity for over a century, but it is a non-renewable resource. In 2000, the U.S. Geologic Survey estimated that the most economically recoverable coal inWest Virginia would be mined out within 20-30 years. According to the four permit applications, surface mining on Coal River Mountain will produce coal for about 14 years. However, a wind farm will produce energy for as long as the wind blows. Here in the mountains of West Virginia, we have a clear choice. We can continue to blow up mountains and destroy communities for a few years of “cheap” electricity. Or, we can support true alternatives, provide jobs in a much-needed area and have clean electricity, forever.
Get involved in the Coal River Wind Project!!! Sign the petition at: http://www.coalriverwind.org/?page_id=28
Mike Price, WV Sierra Cub’s Blue-Green Alliance liaison, speaksout for “green jobs” at a Coal River Mountain Wind Project rally in Charleston
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In addition, call Governor Manchin at 1-888-438-2731 at demand that he support this project. Tell him the time has come for true leadership on alternative energy. Formore information, or to become more involved in the Coal River Mountain Wind Project contact Bill Price at 304-342- 3182 or 304-389-8822 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org