Coal River Mountain Watch’s mission is to stop the destruction of our communities and the environment by mountaintop removal mining (MTR), to improve the quality of life in our area, and to help rebuild sustainable communities. We envision just and caring communities in which residents are aware of and involved in solving community issues and in which public officials and agencies fulfill their responsibility to provide sustainable forms of economic development and a healthy, safe environment.
CRMW began in 1998 as a group of volunteers concerned about mountaintop removal’s impacts, including deadly floods and blasting damage.
In 2003, our Judy Bonds received the Goldman Environmental Prize.
In 2004, we helped form the regional Mountain Justice coalition, and in 2006 the Alliance for Appalachia.
In 2009, we provided safe water for the residents of Prenter, WV, whose wells were contaminated by coal waste.
In 2012, we first introduced the Appalachian Community Health Emergency (ACHE) Act whose intent is to end MTR by addressing its health impacts.
Our proudest achievement is securing a new school for the students of Marsh Fork Elementary, who started classes in January 2013 in a safe location that is not beneath a 2.8-billion-gallon coal sludge dam and 2,000-acre mountaintop removal site.
In 2013, we developed a land trust model for small landowners seeking to protect their property through conservation easements.
When the January 9, 2014, coal chemical leak into the Elk River poisoned water for 300,000 people in nine counties in WV, we were delivering clean water, providing hot meals, coordinating deliveries with other groups, and testing river water the next day.
In May 2015, we purchased our office building and dedicated it as the Judy Bonds Center for Appalachian Preservation.