A Mighty Wind

01 Sep 08
Coal River residents propose a wind farm to save their mountain valley from strip mining

Faced with an impending proposal to strip mine over 6,600 acres—nearly 10 square miles—in the Coal River Valley, including one of the last great mountains in that range, local residents and coal mining families have come up with a counter proposal for an even more effective wind farm.

The Coal River Valley citizens have devised a blueprint to get beyond the divisive regional politics and break the stranglehold of King Coal on the central Appalachian economies. They have already witnessed the destruction of over 470 mountains and their adjacent communities in Appalachia. Rather than repeat the same cycles of exploitation by King Coal, the citizens have researched and created a wind farm proposal to protect the health and long-term prosperity of their community.

The Coal River Wind Project is the first bottom-up community-based full scale assessment to directly counter the nightmare of mountaintop removal with a renewable energy and economy alternative prior to the actual mining.

The Coal River Mountain Wind Project would:

-Create 200 local employment opportunities during construction, and 50 permanent jobs during the life of the wind farm. It takes only 35 years for a wind farm to provide a greater number of one-year jobs than the proposed four surface mines combined.

-Provide 440MW or enough energy for 150,000 homes — indefinitely, as well as a sustained tax income that could be used for the construction of new schools for the county.

-Allow for concurrent uses of the mountain, including harvesting of wild ginseng and valuable forest plants, sustainable forestry, and mountain tourism, as Coal River Mountain is one of West Virginia’s finest mountains.

-Preserve the historic Coal River Mountain heritage, and protect the land and communities from blasting, dusting, poisonous drinking water, increased flooding, damaged homes and personal property, and devastated wildlife habitat.

More info: coalriverwind.org.

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