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Renee Hodges

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Mountaintop Removal Threatens National Treasure

Posted: 06/08/11 09:33 PM ET

This Friday at 10:30 a.m. a meeting of the Fayette County Commission in West Virginia is scheduled in the Commission Chambers at the Fayette County Courthouse. At this meeting people who are concerned about the several new mining permits, proposed by Frasure Creek Mining LLC, will have an hour to voice their concerns and opinions regarding the proposed mountaintop removal (MTR) site.

There are a total of nine permits so far, three active and six proposed. If Frasure Creek Mining LLC is permitted to move forward, that would mean a total of over 3,000 acres of mountaintop removal. They have already received permits for over 1,600 acres and yes, there are houses and communities in this area.

In 2010 Frasure Creek Mining LLC was sued by four environmental groups for violations regarding their MTR in Kentucky. They were accused of committing over 20,000 water discharge violations and fraud for falsifying reports. The Energy and Environment Cabinet investigated the claims and found 2,700 violations, but termed them "transcription errors" and there was a monetary settlement reached totaling less than $700,000.

Fayette County is one of the most beautiful counties in West Virginia and visited by tourists from around the globe. From the Fayette County Comprehension Plan:

Tourism has been a significant part of the Fayette County economy for nearly 30 years. With the development of New River Gorge National River in 1978, the tourism presence and impact has grown at a rapid pace. For instance, persons taking commercial whitewater rafting trips on the New and Gauley rivers totaled approximately 71,000 in 1983. By 2000, that number had grown to 220,000. Visits to National Park Service facilities in Fayette County have gone from 774,000 in 1991 to in excess of 1.2 million in 1998.


It is also the home of the New River Gorge Bridge, which is now the third-largest arch bridge in the world. This bridge is celebrated every year with Bridge Day and draws many tourists. There are many great things to see and do here: white water rafting, kayaking, horse back riding, camping, fishing, hiking, rock climbing, and have you ever been on a zip line canopy tour? Amazing! AND how could I not mention the town of Fayetteville (which will be within four miles of the MTR if these permits are approved ) being voted one of the coolest small towns in America? The Boy Scouts of America have also decided to set up camp here in Fayette County, The Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve (this is within seven miles of the proposed MTR) is under construction and will be hosting the 2013 Jamboree, which will bring people from all over the nation. The 10-day event typically attracts more than 200,000 visitors. I'm not even going to go into the jobs all this tourism creates! Isn't that The Plan? (pg.188, Chapter 7)

I don't need to tell you what MTR does to the land, water, communities, wildlife, etc. You already know... we all know.

What would you do if this was happening in your backyard?

Me? I'm going to the public meeting on Friday, and I have also created a petition at change.org to ask the Fayette County Commission, the WV DEP, the Governor and my local Congressman to please enforce the laws and limit any more MTR.