Over the past year Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards (SAMS) and Sierra Club have teamed with local residents in Wise County to oppose a new mountaintop removal coal mine on Black Mountain. The Ison Rock Ridge mine permit, being sought by A&G Coal Corporation, would obliterate approximately 1,300 acres of steep, forested, mountainous terrain near the town of Appalachia, Virginia. The mine also would bury over 14,000 linear feet, nearly three miles of streams in nine valley fills. In addition, the mine would include construction of sediment ponds that would discharge pollutants to various streams, including Callahan Creek – an “impaired” waterway. Worst of all, the mining would inflict severe and unconscionable harm on surrounding communities with all its associated blasting, truck traffic, dust and so forth.
The Virginia Department Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME) continues to process A&G’s application for a surface mine permit despite our objections, and it appears the agency is very close to issuing the permit. The permit under consideration for these nine valley fills includes several which represent waters within the jurisdiction of the Army Corps of Engineers for which a permit from the Corps will also be required. However, we anticipate that once A&G receives its surface mine permit from VA DMME, the company will likely commence mining operations immediately, while avoiding waters within Corps jurisdiction.
Sierra Club and SAMS are presently considering our options to stop the Ison Rock Ridge mine. For information, contact Glen Besa 804-225-9113 x 104
Find our more about mountaintop removal coal mining. Attend a showing of “Coal Country near you: http://www.virginia.sierraclub.org/coalcountry.html