Researched by Leora Johnson and Michael Saramin
Coal River Mountain in West Virginia may soon become the center of an energy battle that pits fossil fuels against non-fossil renewable sources. At issue is this: Should we develop coal resources now if that will destroy wind resources that can be harnessed forever? Coal River Mountain offers a high-quality wind resource- Class 4, the lowest class considered by utility-scale developers, up through the very high quality Class 7- but Massey Energy leases mineral rights on the mountain. It has obtained permits for more than 6,000 acres of mountaintop removal operations. A wind farm would create 200 jobs during construction and 40 to 50 permanent jobs indefinitely while Massey’s mines would last only 14 years. A wind energy project would allow for concurrent uses of the mountain, the group notes, including harvesting of ginseng and other wild plants, sustainable forestry, and even deep mining of coal, and it would preserve local heritage, wildlife habitat and streams.
“Raleigh County Mountain at Center of Coal vs. Wind Debate” Pam Kasey, The State Journal, 8/15/2008