Environmentalist group monitors surface mining sites as Alpha works to recover from bankruptcy

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After filing for bankruptcy last summer, Alpha Natural Resources just announced that they are in the planning phases of selling off and reorganizing their assets to stabilize the company.

SouthWings, a non-profit aviation group focused on environmental conservation, has partnered up with the Coal River Mountain Watch to monitor surface mining sites owned by Alpha in Kanawha, Boone, and Raleigh counties. 

“It’s heart wrenching to see the mountains ripped apart right above communities,” said Vernon Haltom, the Executive Director of the Coal River Mountain Watch group. 

In Alpha’s proposed reorganization plan, all unsold assets will become part of reorganized Alpha, a smaller company that will mainly focus on environmental reclamation.

Vernon fears that the company will try to pinch pennies when it comes to recovering the land. 

“With the bankruptcy there is that potential for cutting corners and saving money in ways that endanger the public,” said Haltom. 

Alpha CEO Kevin Crutchfield was quoted in a press release by the company saying that  “While markets continue to be challenged in the near term, we firmly believe that coal’s role as a vital fuel source for electricity generation and steel production is secure for the foreseeable future, both here and around the world.”. 

Members of the Coal River Mountain Watch say that as long as coal does exist in West Virginia, they will continue to monitor the safety of those living there. 

“Whether you’re for coal or if you’re against it, you’re breathing the same air, you’re drinking the same water,” said Vernon Haltom. 

Alpha anticipates the proposed reorganization plan will push the company out of bankruptcy by June 30th, 2016.

A hearing to consider approval of the proposed sale procedures is scheduled before the Bankruptcy Court on March 10, 2016. 

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