Southern WV environmentalists are keeping the heat on Gov. Joe Manchin over Massey Energy's planned mountaintop removal mine on the Coal River Mountain.

Whitesville-based Coal River Mountain Watch will be holding press conferences in Charleston and Beckley Dec. 9 to discuss a study it's commissioned.

Massey wants to mine 6,000 acres on the mountain, while environmentalists are trying to preserve the mountain for a wind farm.

The news conference will release research by Downstream Strategies of Morgantown, showing wind development is a wise use not just for Coal River Mountain, but for other parts of southern West Virginia.

Manchin has declined to intervene in the environmentaldispute.

He says it's inappropriate for him to interfere with the regulatory process.

Meanwhile, the state's PSC has approved a windmill electric generating project.

The commission says AES Laurel Mountain has to establish a decommissioning fund, obtain additional permits and satisfy other conditions contained in the order approving construction that was issued Friday.

AES Laurel Mountain plans to build up to 65 wind turbines along eight miles of a ridgeline in Barbour and Randolph counties.

The windmill project would produce between 1,500 and 2,500 kilowatts of power, enough to provide electricity to up to 35,000 homes.

The company provides power to 100 million people from operations in 29 countries.

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