Coalition Continues Fight Against Mine Near State Forest
Members of the Kanawha State Forest Coalition gathered supporters at the Capitol Thursday evening to rally against an approved mine site just 1,500 feet from the forest's edge.
The state Department of Environmental Protection approved the permit in May, although officials say the proposal had been in the works for years.
The permit authorized Keystone Energy to mine Middle Lick Mountain in Kanawha County. Coalition members say the mountaintop removal mine will greatly impact the plant and animal life in the state forest.
Supporters gathered to share stories of home the mine will impact them, from Daile Boulis who says her Loudendale home's value has dropped by at least 50 percent since the permit was approved to Ukiah Cordell who hikes the forest often with her family.
"I really care about Kanawha State Forest," Cordell said, "and I hope everybody else helps as much as they can because I am."
"I love living across the street from Kanawha State Forest," Boulis told the crowd. "I have fallen in love with where I live and I want to stay there."
"I'm so grateful, sitting here looking at all these people. I don't feel like I'm fighting alone."
Members of the coalition will hand deliver more than 2,000 signed petitions to Governor Tomblin's office Friday urging him to ask DEP Secretary Randy Huffman to reconsider the mine permit.
The Surface Mining Board will hold a hearing Monday to allow community members to voice their concerns with the mine and the mine company to defend it. Chad Cordell said Thursday if a ruling doens't go in their favor, the coalition is preparing a lawsuit.