WV Officials Endorse Wind Project

Last week, the Mayor and City Council of Keyser, West Virginia formally endorsed a proposed 23-turbine Pinnacle Wind Farm, a $125 million project that will generate an average of $432,000 in annual local taxes, create 150 construction and six permanent jobs, and help further the national movement toward "green" renewable energy.  The next step is a local public hearing to be conducted by the West Virginia Public Service Commission sometime before July 1.

"Mineral County Development (Authority) is pushing 'green, green, green,'" said Councilman Dave Sowers.

This is great news for the community, as well as for Green Mountain, on which the turbines will be placed -- presumably preventing at least this particular West Virginia ridge from falling to mountaintop removal coal mining.

Yes indeed, 'tis always better to use a mountain to blow wind than to blow up a mountain.

Of course, what is slated for the town of Keyser could just as easily be the salvation for another West Virginia ridgetop: Coal River Mountain.  It is there that Massey Energy Co. aims to blast and bulldoze a mountaintop to get at the thin seam of coal below, then push the mining waste -- known in the biz as "overburden" -- over the side of the flattened mountain and into the valley below.  As is usually the case, this leftover rock, waste and debris will decimate the Coal River that runs through (and sustains) the local community.

Concerned citizens and local groups have done everything they can to persuade the company, their elected officials and Gov. Joe Manchin himself not to sacrifice the mountain and the community that depends on it.  Coal River Mountain Watch has even offered an alternative plan -- a wind farm -- that would provide the same amount of power generation and even more jobs without destroying natural resources and the quality of life for those living in the Coal River valley. 

Do the math:  220 wind turbines that could power 150,000 homes while preserving the mountain vs. Massey's 6,000-acre mine that would level the mountain while destroying diverse forests, plentiful wildlife and pristine waterways.

If wind is good enough for Keyser, it's certainly good enough for Coal River Mountain.