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The Three Reasons Residents are Appealing the KD Mine No. 2

Ashton Marra
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The Department of Environmental Protection’s Surface Mine Board held the first of at least two hearings focused on Keystone Indutries’ KD Mine No. 2 Monday. The mine is located just 1,500 feet from the edge of the Kanawha State Forest in Kanawha County.

Tom Rist, a Fayetteville attorney, argued the case of a few residents of Middle Lick Branch Road, a small community of four or five homes located just across the street from the forest.

Rist said there are three major issues his clients have with the permit:

  1. The permit clearly states there will be no impact to any public parks, but provides the Division of Natural Resources with ten cents per ton of coal mined and requires the mine company to dredge a pond in the forest.
  2. Use of the forest is being restricted because of blasting on the mountain top removal site. The mine company, Revelation, has posted signs at three of the trails heads and outside the shooting range to warn of blasts and the DEP said the company must assure the trails are closed before they blast.
  3. The blast warnings are too vague for residents and park visitors to really be informed. Signs posted at trail heads say the company will sound a warning alarm at least three minutes before the blast, but residents of the Middle Lick neighborhood say they have only received one notification of blasting in the form of a letter.

Daile Boulis, a Middle Lick resident, read that letter as part of her testimony Monday.

“Blasting activity shall be conducted between sunrise and sunset from May 10, 2014, through May 10, 2015, unless emergency conditions dictate unscheduled detonation,” she read.

Rist maintained that is not a concrete timeframe.

The Surface Mine Board will hold a second hearing August 20 during which they will allow the DEP, Keystone and Revelation to present their case, including witnesses and evidence.

Rist said a ruling could come that same day or could take two to three months, all while mining continues at KD No. 2.

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