Three days ago, Coal River, WV, was one of the Appalachia's most promising wind-power sites. Coal River Mountain had the potential to begin a new, bright, renewable future for a region ravaged by its dependence on King Coal. A citizen's coalition had applied for permits to construct the wind farm -- and investors were lining up.
But Massey Coal had a different idea. Instead of creating an enduring community and a national asset, one that would have supported 50 jobs in perpetuity, Massey wanted to preemptively begin blowing up Coal River Mountain starting Wednesday. Backed by West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin, Massey appeared to have the go-ahead for its plan to destroy the mountain. Governor Manchin's initial response to the wind farm porposal? Wind advocates should "do what any responsible energy producer would do: Identify and acquire a site for their project, and obtain the permits and infrastructure necessary to make that project happen." Manchin said he was perplexed by why Coal River Wind was so focused on "this particular site."
How about this, Governor? They are focused on this particular site because it's about to be blown up. And they didn't know it was going to be blown up until August 29, when Massey announced it would blast in a classified ad and informed residents within .7 miles of the blasting zone.
It's clear that no one could have obtained permits and infrastructure in the 13 days between the first public notice of the proposal to destroy the mountain and the proposed beginning of the blasting. And it's just as clear that Manchin is simply a handmaiden for Massey.
But Coal River Mountain got a reprieve. Massey isn't just reckless about what they do to streams and communities. They are also sloppy, and they had failed to get all the permits they needed. So West Virginia regulatory agencies intervened to stop the blasting -- for now -- even if the Governor didn't like it.
But what kind of society makes it easier to get a permit to blow up a mountain than to get one to erect a wind mill on top of it? Big Carbon is making war on our future, and we are letting them.
Follow Carl Pope on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CarlPope