Fracking and other forms of drilling for natural gas is big business in Central Appalachia. That is a big problem for our region’s environment and for the world’s climate. Appalmad challenges fracking operations, gas well waste disposal and, most recently, we are leading the effort to assure that old and abandoned gas wells are plugged. Abandoned wells are one of the Nation’s largest sources of methane, an extremely potent greenhouse gas. State regulators, working hand-in-hand with drilling companies, allow the drillers to leave abandoned wells to leak methane rather than requiring remediation and plugging as the law requires. We are filing cases in federal court to get those wells plugged, keep the methane in the ground, and protect the property rights of small landowners.
We are nationwide leaders in challenging coal mining and burning. We have won coal mine bonding cases that have resulted in several hundred million dollars in mine cleanup. We have sued and won many victories that have stopped mines from being built, reduced the size of large-scale mines in the region, and stopped pollution coming from hundreds of coal mines. Our litigation continues to raise the costs of coal mining, transport, and burning, making less harmful forms of energy production more economically competitive. Our ongoing monitoring work deters state regulators and coal operators from colluding to allow coal companies to pollute our region’s streams and rivers. We also work to assure that coal mines are properly reclaimed, native trees are planted on reclamation sites, and to generally address the long-term impacts of legacy coal pollution.
Since 2014, Appalmad attorneys have been working to stop proposed natural gas infrastructure from being built in our region, including the now-canceled Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the vulnerable Mountain Valley Pipeline. Our work has added billions of dollars and years of delay to the costs of these projects, making them unpalatable to investors and serving as a warning to future pipeline builders. We believe it is past time for this region to build clean energy infrastructure and stop spending money to promote the future use of fossil fuels.
We work to assure that our region’s utility regulators approve clean energy solutions and disallow power plant and other utility projects that would further tie our region to extracting and burning fossil fuels.
We founded this organization more than twenty years ago to fight mountaintop removal coal mining. Our litigation has helped to drive the politics, science, and activism opposing mountaintop removal mining. There is virtually no part of the mining industry in the region that our litigation and policy work have not touched. We have won scores of cases against the mining industry, who would destroy our region and then distribute the profits to owners living outside of the region. The mining industry has been an economic and environmental disaster for our region.
Now that the coal industry is in decline, some coal operators are trying to offload their obligations to clean up the land and water they have polluted. We continue to work to assure that the bankruptcy courts do not reverse our progress towards cleaning up streams and reestablishing forests (to the extent such a thing is possible) on old mine sites.
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