The choices we make now will make or break our collective environmental future. Nowhere can this be seen more clearly than with the dispute over West Virginia’s Coal River Mountain, one of the last mountains still intact in the Coal River Valley.
But the future of the mountain is in jeopardy. A subsidiary of Massey Energy has recently applied for strip mine permits that would destroy 6600 acres of the Coal River Mountain, or almost 10 square miles. Not only would this plan destroy a beautiful area, but it would also dump waste into valleys that fill almost every neighboring headwater stream.
The 15 year mining plan would destroy almost all viable wind power potential on the mountain.
This would be a huge tragedy, as a wind farm atop Coal River Mountain would provide enough energy for 150,000 homes indefinitely and create hundreds of jobs in one of the poorest areas of the country.
At the same time, tax income from the project could be used to construct new schools in the county.
This is a classic example of the dilemma between extracting unsustainable resources (thus ruining the area that supplies the resources) and securing our future with alternative energy programs. For more information on saving the Coal River Mountain, visit the Coal River Mountain Watch site.