W.Va. Environmental Regulators Order Surface Mine to Stop Work

Jul 18, 2014

Blast warning signs are posted throughout the forest on sites near Middle Lick Mountain.
Credit Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

 West Virginia environmental officials have ordered a new surface coal mining operation near Kanawha State Forest to halt mining.

The stop-work order is from the Department of Environmental Protection. Inspectors issued an "imminent harm cessation order" when they found cracks in a barrier intended to contain runoff in a sediment-control ditch.

It's also meant to prevent dirt and mud from the site from entering a nearby creek.

DEP Secretary Randy Huffman told The Charleston Gazette the work stoppage continues "until this gets fixed."

Keystone Industries was issued a state permit this spring to mine on more than 400 acres. As a condition of the permit, Keystone agreed not to use state forest roads for access, coal hauling or other mining-related activity

Several environmental groups have opposed the mining operation.