Cancel Virginia’s Coalfields Expressway Project

coalfields

Target: Chief Deputy Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Transportation Charles Kilpatrick

Goal: To prevent the building of the Coalfields Expressway in Virginia.

Taxpayer-funded highway and interstate projects are generally considered infrastructural projects intended to benefit the general population of a given region. When over $2.4 billion dollars are involved, that notion of public benefit gains an increased emphasis.

This is unfortunately not the case, however, with the Coalfields Expressway planned for southwestern Virginia. This expressway is being built almost exclusively to benefit of coal mining companies in the region. Instead of taking community benefit to heart, the route was drafted by Alpha Natural Resources as a path which would maximize access to coal reserves without any real service as a public utility.

This not only fails to serve the public trust, but would also allow these companies to considerably increase the rate at which they are able to conduct mountaintop removal coal mining. Increased use of this process would not only stem from the greater access the road will grant, but also from the creation of the road itself. All profits from coal extracted from land being blasted to flatten a path for the expressway will be retained by the very mining companies seeking to profit from the Coalfields Expressway.

The route will not only cost taxpayers by virtue of the enormous outlay, but also have a financial impact on surrounding communities. Many local businesses within surrounding communities depend upon commerce from coal mining traffic. Many of these communities will be entirely bypassed by the expressway, causing local economies to wither and die. This is not unlike the surrounding land itself which will be impacted by mountaintop coal mining.

The more efficiently this land can be stripped bare, the greater the acreage that will be choked off by debris as well as poisoned by toxic runoff. This is the legacy the Coalfields Expressway would leave behind, a huge tax-leveraged project for corporate benefit which results in an increase in environmental destruction and economic depression throughout local communities. This cannot be allowed to happen; the Coalfields Expressway must be stopped.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Commissioner Kilpatrick,

When seeking to apply large sums of taxpayer money to public works projects it is imperative that the project serve the interests of those taxpayers footing the bill. This concern only increases when the financial output reaches the multi-billion dollar stage. This is what makes the $2.5 billion Coalfields Expressway project so concerning. The huge taxpayer outlay is going to be applied towards a project which essentially panders to corporate interest.

This expressway is being built almost to the exclusive benefit of coal mining companies within the region. Instead of for public interest, the route was drafted by Alpha Natural Resources as a path which would maximize access to coal reserves.

This is a failure to serve the public trust. It spends unnecessary public funds on a project intended to allow these companies to considerably increase the rate at which they are able to conduct coal mining. It also encouraged an increased use of mining by way of the mountaintop removal mining process. This would not only stem from the greater access the road will grant, but also from the creation of the road itself. All profits from coal extracted from land being blasted to flatten a path for the expressway will be retained by the very mining companies seeking to profit from the Coalfields Expressway.

This damages the both the community and the environment. Many local communities are reliant upon commerce from coal mining traffic. These communities will be entirely bypassed by the expressway, pushing those local economies into economic distress. The impact on environment would also be tremendous as land is demolished during the mountaintop removal process. The increased efficiency for mining only increases the acreage that will be choked off by debris as well as poisoned by toxic runoff.

This is entirely unacceptable. Should this come to fruition, it would leave behind the legacy of a huge tax-leveraged project for corporate benefit which resulted in an increase in environmental destruction and economic depression throughout local communities. This cannot be allowed to happen. Stop the Coalfields Expressway before it can be built.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

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One Comment

  1. Time to phase out coal and bring in newer green sources of energy. These plans are going backward and towards destruction of our society and ecology.

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