OVCC has pending permits to fill a formerly undisturbed valley in Belmont County with coal waste and to release 72,000 gallons of polluted water per day into Captina Creek. It is the Company's intention to get this waste out of its mines below Dysart Woods.
The State EPA held a second public hearing about these permits Feb. 8. For those who couldn't make it, please help publicize this so citizens can have the opportunity to send the EPA a letter, fax or email, which will be entered into the decision-making process just as if they spoke at the hearing.
Why has OVCC not been punished for their illegal destruction of
the valley in question,
including the stream that flowed there, before the public hearing regarding the permits for such action had even taken place? This action has been acknowledged as illegal by the State EPA and the ODMR, yet they continue to drag their feet when it comes to doing something about it. (pictures of the illegal OVCC destruction are available on web at www.dysartwoods.org).
EPA reports show that there is an endangered species, the Eastern Hellbender, Ohio's largest salamander, just downstream in Captina Creek from OVCC's proposed valley fill. This requires a full investigation and the cessation of the existing pollution let alone an expansion of pollution. Endangered species must be protected if the Ohio EPA is to follow the law.
The 72,000 gallons of polluted discharge OVCC wishes to send out every day into Captina Creek would devastate one of Ohio's cleanest water bodies. Captina Creek is rated as an exceptional warmwater habitat and has the cleanest water quality ranking in the state according to Mike Smith, EPA permit specialist for these permits.
OVCC is trying to get a permit for their waste coal, or 'gob', which releases sulfuric acid when it comes into contact with water, as if it was simply fill dirt. A recent court decision by a federal judge in W Virginia has set an important precedent against this. (More info about this at www.dysartwoods.org under "UPCOMING EVENTS, Comment Period for OVCC dump).
An internal email by Marc Smith of the Ohio EPA found numerous errors with Ohio Valley Coal Company's paid "scientists" and found that all of these errors helped to underscore the quality of the stream. The EPA official suggest ground-truthing the coal company's data, but before they could complete that, OVCC bulldozed the site illegally. What was OVCC trying to hide? What kind of a precedence would this be to allow the illegal bulldozing of a site to prevent EPA study, then for the EPA to give the permits to the company to go ahead?
EPA studies show that OVCC's current pollution increases acidity in Captina Creek by more than five times. A copy of the internal email is at www.dysartwoods.org under latest news.
If passed, Dysart Defenders intends to appeal all of these permits.