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DEP Says Not Enough Evidence Will Harm Appeal Against Kanawha State Forest Mine

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Ashton Marra
/
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The Department of Environmental Protection’s Surface Mine Board has finished hearing testimony in the appeal of a mine located next to the Kanawha State Forest.

In the second day of hearings, board members heard testimony from the Director of the Division of Natural Resources, employees of the DEP and a consultant who helped write the mine permit, among others.

Director Frank Jezi0ro testified forest visitors will be impacted by the surfacing mining taking place just a few hundred feet from the forest’s boundary, but the land itself will not be impacted.

Due to the off site activity, there will be what people would consider an impact due to the noise or the closure of a hiking trail while there was blasting going on,” Jezi0ro said. “Those were the impacts that we saw.”

DEP attorney Jason Wandling said there isn’t enough evidence to prove the appellants claims that harm is being done to the forest, among other things, and there is no legal basis for the board to revoke the permit and stop the mining.

Last week, the appellants called witnesses who testified the mining would impact their ground water, adversely effect plant and wildlife, and prevent visitors from using many of the trails and shooting ranges at a time not being specified.

Board members are expected to make a decision in the next few months.  


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