Citizens Arrested in Governor Joe Manchin's Office
Rescind mining permits on Coal River Mountain ~ October 19, 2009
Dear Governor Manchin,
As residents of West Virginias Coal River Valley we write you to declare a state of emergency. Coal River Mountain is our last mountain untouched by mountaintop removal and it is in imminent danger of blasting. This would not only threaten our communities, it would also destroy our chance to have permanent jobs and renewable energy through ridge-top wind power. You have the power to rescind these permits.
At any moment, Massey Energy could blast part of the Bee Tree site, on the containing ridge of the Brushy Fork sludge impoundment. Brushy Fork impoundment, permitted to hold 9.8 billion gallons of toxic sludge, is the tallest dam in the hemisphere, and it sits on top of a network of abandoned underground mines.
We live in fear that the blasting could cause the dam to fail and create one of the greatest industrial disasters in our nations history. The emergency evacuation plan for the Brushy Fork sludge dam states that should it fail, a wall of water 50 feet high would hit Whitesville and result in the deaths of at least 998 people. Given this risk, blasting should not be allowed until your Department of Environmental Protection has conducted a thorough geo-technical examination of the impoundments stability in regards to the underground mines.
"Yes, I'm not certain how close the -- I haven't actually been there to determine the how close the blasting is but blasting in the vicinity of a coal waste impoundment can cause problems, can cause fracturing of rock and create situations where there might be stability problems with the impoundment," former MSHA engineer Jack Spadaro said.