By August 8, 2014 Read More →

Groups protest mine near Kanawha State Forest

Charleston Gazette photo by Chris Dorst Nearly 200 opponents of Keystone Industries’ KD No. 2 surface mine near the eastern boundary of Kanawha State Forest gather on the West Virginia Statehouse steps Thursday to air their concerns over how the mine might affect the forest and nearby communities.

Charleston Gazette photo by Chris Dorst
Nearly 200 opponents of Keystone Industries’ KD No. 2 surface mine near the eastern boundary of Kanawha State Forest gather on the West Virginia Statehouse steps Thursday to air their concerns over how the mine might affect the forest and nearby communities.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — When Daile Boulis moved into her home along Middlelick Branch in Loudendale two and a half years ago, adjusting to well water and life in a hollow seemed to be the biggest challenges facing her.

That changed earlier this year, she said, when she learned that Keystone Industries had applied for a permit to open a 413-acre mountaintop removal surface mine, part of which would lie within 1,500 feet of her home.

“Since then, I’ve had a crash course on coal, mountaintop removal mining, and the Division of Environmental Protection,” she told a group of about 200 people gathered on the Statehouse steps on Thursday to voice their opposition to the mine and their support for the mine’s next-door neighbor — Kanawha State Forest.

Boulis said her in-laws, who have lived in Loudendale since the mid-1960s, were fearful of flooding long before Keystone’s KD #2 mine was issued a permit by the DEP in May, since the community is no stranger to high water events. Knowing that preparation work is underway for a new surface mine in the headwaters of Middlelick Branch only aggravates flooding fears, she said. “People there are so worried about flooding now, it boggles the mind,” she said.

Other worries caused by the mine include plummeting property values and the possibility that well water could become contaminated.

“How is it okay to hear your realtor say your property value dropped 50 percent the day the mine permit was issued,” and will dip even further once mining begins, Boulis said.

“The blasting’s already started,” she said. “The house shook the other day. . .The whole permit process has felt sneaky and underhanded. How can the only public notice requirement for a mine like this be an announcement in the classified ads section of the newspaper?”

Boulis was one of a half-dozen opponents of the mine and boosters of Kanawha State Forest to speak at Thursday’s rally.

 Among others was Chad Cordell of the Kanawha Forest Coalition, who called on Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to “protect our mountains, our health, our communities and our forests” by revoking Keystone’s surface mining permit. The Kanawha Forest Coalition will argue during a DEP hearing on Monday that the permit was illegally issued, since the State Historic Preservation Office did not sign off on the project due to the presence of Civilian Conservation Corps structures listed on the National Register of Historic Places in nearby Kanawha State Forest…

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