Keystone Mine, protests raise questions for all

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — On Friday, activists opposed to the mountain top removal mine near Kanawha State Forest delivered a petition of more than 4,000 signatures to Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin. Many who signed the petition, as well as those who came out last week to protest the mining, are vehemently opposed to such an operation so close to Kanawha State Forest.

And why wouldn’t they be? Everyone in the Charleston area loves Kanawha State Forest. The 9,300-acre recreation area, filled with thick hardwood forest, miles of hiking and biking trails, a fishing pond, a beautiful creek, a pool, a camping area, picnic areas and recreational fields is a favorite gathering spot for people to enjoy nature.

It is the only forest of its kind located close to Charleston, saving local residents the multiple hours drive needed to get to other beautiful places like Canaan Valley, Watoga State Park and so many more of West Virginia’s scenic, forested and protected areas.

While not actually in the boundaries of Kanawha State Forest, the open scar of the Keystone mine will be visible from the north side of the park, particularly from the Ballard and Lindy trails, both of which may be closed at times due to proximity to blasting. Members of the Loudendale community below the mining area are also upset. Some residents said the notification procedures to make the public aware of the mine proposal were insufficient.

The petition delivered to the governor’s office calls for Tomblin to revoke the mine’s permit. Consideration of the request by the governor, however, would raise numerous issues…

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