February 16th, 2009
Blasting at Clays Branch, Cherry Pond Mountain, Raleigh County, West Virginia
On Monday, February 16 2009, at about 11am, two members of Climate Ground Zero were arrested for interfering with MTR blasting on the Massey Energy-owned Edwhite mountain top removal site near the Shumate Dam on Cherry Pond Mountain. The Shumate dam holds back 2.8 billion gallons of toxic sludge, the waste by-product of chemically cleaning coal, and sits above the Marsh Fork elementary school. Since 2005, local citizens have demanded that Marsh Fork Elementary School be moved to protect the children from a massive dam failure like the one that happened in Kingston, Tennessee on December 22 of last year.
“This is a crime against nature”, said James McGuinness, “It is not only illegal, it is immoral.” “They have no right to destroy this mountain.”
“Massey Energy’s plan to destroy this mountain for coal threatens the health and safety of the residents of Clays Branch and the Hunter Addition of Naoma. This is a serious threat to the ecology, the economy and the future of West Virginia.” Said Mike Roselle, of Rock Creek.
“If the blasting continues, and the Shumate Dam was to fail, the lives of thousands of West Virginians would be at risk.”
Clays Branch is part of Cherry Pond Mountain, which stretches east along Rt 3 to Bolt Mountain (Rt 99). Clays Branch is located above Marsh Fork Elementary School, above the 2.8 billion gallon sludge pond at Shumate and up the left hand fork of Shumate hollow. There is massive MTR blasting currently ongoing –next to an unstable sludge dam, above an elementary school and surrounded by mountain communities.