on OVCC's requested dump expansion
OVCC issued five notices of violation for beginning work without a permit
Picture of OVCC's existing dump
Email comments by Feb. 18 to the Ohio EPA
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) has requested public comment for the Ohio Valley Coal Company (OVCC) waste valley fill permits to entirely destroy a mile of tributary of Captina Creek and to pollute Captina, a rare exceptional warmwater habitat.
But OVCC did not wait for permission from the state. The coal company went ahead and bulldozed the area without the permits – and received five notices of violation: two from the Ohio Division of Mines and Reclamations and three from the OEPA.
In a related court victory, a federal ruling of a West Virginia Coal waste valley fill declares that the OVCC valley fill would violate the Clean Water Act. Chief U.S. District Judge Charles H. Haden II said that valley fill waste piles are not allowed in streams that flow year-round or part of the year. The West Tributary of Perkins Run and Perkins Run itself that has been bulldozed and that would be buried under nearly a thousand feet of waste coal were intermittent and perennial streams respectively. Both flowed more than 6 months of the year, meeting Haden II's guidelines for valleys that cannot be filled.
The requested permit would destroy a formerly natural stream with hundreds of feet of coal refuse. According to the coal industry, this will kill all aquatic and biological life within the entire 93 acres. The coal is the refuse from what OVCC wants to dig from under the watershed and under Dysart Woods itself. OVCC just dug a new mining facility next to Dysart Woods in the past several weeks. But in order to keep mining, OVCC must have a place to dump its coal waste. This waste dump is near Dysart Woods and next to an exceptional quality ecosystem. The nightmarish mountains of poisonous waste leach acid mine drainage poisons. This is the forgotten side of underground mining that has devastating affects to the surface.
"Ohio EPA never fully knew what was in that stream because OVCC bulldozed it before the EPA finished its analysis of the valley," said Dysart Defenders Coordinator Chad Kister. "These valley fills have been declared illegal by federal law. This is waste from coal Ohio Valley Coal wants to dig from underneath Dysart Woods and its watershed. Please write a letter to stop this devastation of our last clean streams and ancient forests."
Dysart Defenders encourages citizens to write letters to the OEPA at "Ohio EPA/DSW, Attention: Permits Processing Unit, P.O. Box 1049, Columbus, Ohio 43216-1049." Comments can also be emailed or faxed (see link at upcoming events button)
The Ohio EPA agreed to have another public hearing at Dysart Defenders request because OVCC failed to provide a mitigation plan in time for people to review for the last public hearing in May. A transcript of that public hearing is at www.dysartwoods.org (under latest news posted September 2). Also see photos taken of the existing waste facility, and of the illegal destruction. Feel free to use any of the photos or information from the web site. Dysart Defenders had a successful rally with more than 100 community members Tuesday November 9.
click on the thumbnail below to see enlarged photo