Blasting is a particularly hazardous aspect of surface mining. Permit violations related to blasting, like fly rock and fugitive dust (which often contains silica - a dangerous carcinogen), in addition to property damage (cracked foundations, polluted wells) are starkly obvious to people that observe them. But, these kinds of violations don't tend to garner West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) response or yield consequences for coal companies. Video footage or photos of blasts recorded by citizens are not considered evidence by the WVDEP. Instead, the agency looks to company blast logs and local seismographic data to determine if there are grounds for a citation or fine.
We're hoping for thoughts on other routes we could take to get accountability in these cases - particularly around the issue of airborne dust that crosses mine permit boundaries. These might include potential routes through federal agencies (circumventing the WVDEP all together), organizing + community advocacy strategies, etc. Citizen footage of blast violations is often very visually striking - any thoughts on how we can mobilize this quality towards accountability?