Feel free to copy and paste this letter below, adding your name to the bottom. Please send this to President Obama at:
or print out with your signature, and send to:
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC 20500
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Ariel Rios Building
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20460
Dear Lisa Jackson, President Obama,
We write you to declare a state of emergency. As you read this, Coal River Mountain in Raleigh County, WV, the areas last mountain untouched by mountaintop removal, is being blasted, so that Massey Energy can extract the coal through mountaintop removal mining. The blasting not only threaten communities, it would also destroy a prime opportunity to create permanent jobs and renewable energy through ridge-top wind power.
The coal company is blasting the containing ridge of the Brushy Fork slurry impoundment, permitted to hold 9.8 billion gallons of toxic coal slurry, and the tallest dam in the hemisphere. The impoundment sits above a network of abandoned underground mines. Residents downstream from the dam 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.
According to a report by a contracted hydrogeologist, as well as admissions by Massey Energys own engineering consultants, the pillars supporting the dam are not guaranteed to withstand the pressure of the dam much less blasts on the containing within 100 feet of the dam. As former Mining Safety and Health Administration engineer Jack Spadaro states, “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.
At the same time, we as a nation also stand to lose one our most valuable natural resources wind power. Coal River Mountain has enough wind potential to house a 328-megawatt wind farm, which would be the largest on the east coast. Yet each blast is lowering the elevation of the ridges, reducing the existing wind speeds. The blasts turn the solid bedrock into rubble, which makes large turbine placement economically prohibitive, since stabilizing each turbine is so costly. Each blast also destroys existing potential for clean energy, permanent jobs, and diversifying and strengthening our regions economy.
____ (Lisa Jackson, President Obama), we urge you to take action before it is too late. You have the power to direct your agencies and use your influence on West Virginia politicians to halt the blasting, defend the safety of your people, and preserve some of our countrys most valuable resources.
The whole world is watching. Allies, nationally and internationally, are holding up Coal River Mountain as the symbol of a governments choice to remain stuck in its old ways or build a healthy, prosperous future. Even at the United Nations meeting in Copenhagen in December, the most powerful leaders in the world will watch Google Earths flyover tour of Coal River Mountain, as one of approximately 15 tours of global crisis hotspots. They will wonder why our government is allowing out-of-state coal companies to place the lives of local residents in danger and destroy one of our regions best chances for renewable energy, stable jobs, and ecnomic diversification. You have the power to show the whole world that the United States can blaze the way forward choosing permanent jobs and clean energy over threatening the lives of its own residents.
Again, we urge you to halt the blasting and protect your nations people, land, and renewable energy resources.