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Campaigns: Mountaintop Removal


MTR Description

MTR in Coal River

What to do if MTR affects you

Mountaintop Removal coal mining is the biggest human and environmental scandal in the United States today. Coal companies use powerful explosives and huge earth-moving equipment to rip away our mountains, take our coal, and leave us with dangerous, worthless, land that prevents future development of natural or other economic resources. West Virginia uses more explosives than any other state, and the coal industry uses far and away more than anyone else. Three million pounds of explosives are used on an average workday in West Virginia. That's equal to the amount of explosives in 4,636 "bunker buster" bombs used by the U.S. military.

The assault on our mountains affects our homes, water, roads, schools, children, families, and the land itself. Central Appalachia is home to the most diverse hardwood forest in the world. The flat land and "topsoil substitute" left after MTR will not give root to hardwood forests for hundreds of years. The loss of these resources damage the ecosystems of eastern North America.  

Mountaintop Removal In Coal River:

Williams Mountain[1]


Operator   Parent      Permit #[2]      Facility Name    Acres[3]


Elk Run            Massey                   505792                   East of Stollings                   1238

Elk Run            Massey                   507586                                                               411

Elk Run            Massey                   600687                                                                 60

Elk Run            Massey                   601189                                                               236

Elk Run            Massey                   601487                                                               246

Elk Run            Massey                   602688                                                               344

Independence    Massey                   501400                  Ramo Surface Mine                  80

Jack’s Branch   Massey                   007984                                                               131

Omar Mining     Massey                   007076                                                                316

Omar Mining     Massey                   502387                                                                268

Omar Mining     Massey                   503190                                                                 97

Independence   Massey                   501200                   Laxare East                         1,534

Independence   Massey                   502401                   Lexerd                                    837

Elk Run            Massey                   502898                  West of Stollings                   1,087

Total Massey Acres:             6,885


Asset Mining     Peabody                503095                     Frozen Hollow                         388

Pine Ridge        Peabody                 502995                    Williams Mtn.                          194

                                                Total Peabody Acres:           582

 Total Williams Mountain Acres:        7,467

                        Percentage of Quad:        20.18

[1] Based on USGS 7.5 minute topographic map quadrants.


[2] The last two digits of the permit number indicate the year the application was submitted.


[3] All data except for parent company taken from DEP records.


Kayford Mountain


Operator                      Parent              Permit #          Facility Name               Acres


Catenary              Arch                        300800                  Kayford South                              712

Catenary              Arch                        301795                  Samples Ext.                                 83

Catenary              Arch                        302390                   (White Oak Hollow)                      499

Catenary              Arch                        302490                    Cabin Creek                              2282

Catenary              Arch                        303593                    Stanley Heritage                        1098

Catenary              Arch                        601287                    Samples                                     203


                        Total Arch Acres:           4,877


Princess Beverly  Horizon[1]               300599                  Kayford Mtn. 5                               459

Princess Beverly  Horizon                   301492                  Kayford Mtn.                                 224

Princess Beverly  Horizon                   302791                  Kayford Mtn. 2                              377

Princess Beverly  Horizon                   600989                                                                      209

Princess Beverly  Horizon                   603586                  Kayford Mtn.                                  289

Princess Beverly  Horizon                 z002781                  Notomine Surface                         1000


                                    Total Horizon Acres:                                     2,558


                                                                                    Cumulative Acres:            7,435


Percentage of Quadrant:     20.09%[2]



Total Permitted Acres on Williams and Kayford Mountains:            14,902

Percentage of Two Quadrants:                                                     20.01%

[1] The Princess Beverly mine shut down in 2003.  Later that year, Horizon sold its reserves on Kayford Mountain to Massey Energy.


[2] Catenary and Princess Beverly straddle three topographic quadrants.  They are all within close enough proximity that they could fit within the spatial area of any one of the quadrants.  This percentage estimate is based on the spatial area of a quadrant at 38°00’00”N.



Permits issued for surface mines on Williams Mountain and Kayford Mountain in Coal River offer evidence of the explosion of mountaintop removal mining that began in the late 1980s.  Of twenty-eight permits issued for the two mountains between 1976 and 2003 totaling 15,577 acres, only five permits totaling 2,147 acres (about 14% of the total acreage) were issued before 1987.




Things you can do if you are affected by mountaintop removal:

Keep a blast log. When you feel a blast, write down the date, time and a little description of how severe the blast was.  

Look for permits: scan your local newspaper for new permits in your area and ask for a public hearing. Make sure all your neighbors know about the permit.

Contact CRMW to learn about your rights when dealing with coal companies and the DEP. 




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