Wind or Mountaintop Removal?: Study Shows West Virginia Mountain Could be Permanent...
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Wind or Mountaintop Removal?: Study Shows West Virginia Mountain Could be Permanent Power Source for 150,000 Homes Unlike "One Shot" Despoiling of Mountain by Mountaintop Removal Mining, Utility-Scale Wind Farm Would Generate Ongoing Supply of Energy, Jobs and Taxes. WHITESVILLE, W.Va., Aug. 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Should Coal River Mountain -- which stands as one of the last mountains still intact in the beautiful Coal River Valley of West Virginia -- vanish as the result of 6,600 acres of strip mining and 18 valley fills that would increase the flooding of residents along the Clear Fork River? Or, should the site be devoted to developing large-scale wind power that would generate enough clean energy to keep the lights on in 150,000 homes while preserving the mountain for future economic and community use? Massey Energy is seeking to use controversial mountaintop removal mining methods to destroy nearly 10 square miles of Coal River Mountain for the "one shot" removal of coal from the site. However, a new study based on the use of a wind speed model provided by national wind development modeling firm, WindLogics, and conducted by members of Appalachian Voices and Coal River Mountain Watch -- outlines a strong new alternative in a 440-megawatt wind farm. The proposed wind farm would preserve Coal River Mountain while providing energy and much needed jobs for the Coal River Valley communities, forever. The WindLogics study conducted for the Coal River Mountain Project (http://www.coalriverwind.org) shows that Coal River Mountain is ideal for utility-scale wind. "Coal River Mountain can accommodate 220 two-megawatt wind turbines -- enough energy to power over 150,000 homes," says Rory McIlmoil, campaign coordinator for the wind project. "You can't put wind power on a strip mine, because the wind patterns are impacted, and the land is rendered unstable for supporting wind-turbines." "We're optimistic about the potential for local leaders to support this project and put Raleigh County on the map. This would be the biggest wind farm proposed on the East Coast, and could provide a model for other counties in West Virginia looking for affordable, clean energy and safe, healthy jobs in their own communities," said Matt Noerpel of Coal River Mountain Watch. Permit data shows that the mountaintop removal operation will only provide jobs and energy for 14 years, and will eliminate any potential for alternative economic development, such as wind energy. A wind farm, by comparison, would allow for other uses of the land that would benefit the local communities, like sustainable forestry, tourism, and the harvesting of ginseng and other wild plants. "I live in the west end of the county, which has been heavily impacted by coal mining," said Lorelei Scarbro of Rock Creek. "Our concern today is our homes, our environment and the sustainability of the environment. The house I live in and raised my children in, which my husband built and he is buried in the family cemetery next door, would be in danger from this mine. The wind farm would preserve the mountain." "Economic development is of the utmost importance, but concern for the well being of citizens is a priority. This wind farm could save local communities, people's lives, and our way of life, while also bringing new economic development to the area. This idea is an excellent alternative, and maybe the only alternative for our lands which are being permanently destroyed," said local resident and former coal miner Chuck Nelson. The proposed wind farm would generate over $20 million per year in direct local spending during construction and $2 million per year during the operational period. It would create 200-plus construction related jobs over the first two years, and 40-50 permanent on-site operation and maintenance jobs that would last as long as the wind farm exists. The project would also provide a minimum of $400,000 in State Tax Revenues, and between $750,000 and $3,000,000 in County Tax Revenues annually. Also, this wind farm could potentially provide the city of Beckley and the whole of Raleigh County with clean wind energy. McIlmoil said: "The national conversation on energy and global warming makes it clear that America needs to start investing heavily in renewable energy, as well as get ourselves off foreign sources of energy. Carbon taxes could make coal more expensive in coming years, and West Virginia needs prepare itself by developing innovative, affordable, new sources of domestic energy before that happens." For information on the Coal River Mountain Wind study, visit http://www.coalriverwind.org. Additional resources are available under the "Resources" tab and throughout the website. ABOUT COAL RIVER WIND PROJECT The Coal River Wind Project is a joint effort between Coal River Mountain Watch, the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, Appalachian Voices and the Student Environmental Action Coalition. Coal River Mountain Watch has been working for community preservation in the Coal River Valley for over 10 years. CONTACTS: Ailis Aaron Wolf, (703) 276-3265, or firstname.lastname@example.org; Rory McIlmoil, (304) 854-2182 or email@example.com; and Lorelei Scarbro, (304) 854-2182 or firstname.lastname@example.org. EDITOR'S NOTE: Maps and other details about the proposed Coal River Mountain wind farm are available at http://www.coalriverwind.org/?page_id=9. SOURCE Coal River Mountain Wind Project, Whitesville, WV; Co-op America, Washington, DC Ailis Aaron Wolf, +1-703-276-3265, email@example.com, for Coal River Mountain Wind Project, Whitesville, WV; Co-op America, Washington, DC; Rory McIlmoil, +1-304-854-2182, firstname.lastname@example.org or Lorelei Scarbro, +1-304-854-2182, email@example.com, both of Coal River Mountain Wind Project, Whitesville, WV; Co-op America, Washington, DC