|More than a dozen EPA emailed comments
opposed all three of Ohio Valley Coal Company's valley fill permits
Emails sent to OEPA:
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Division of Surface Water
Attention: Permits processing unit
I am a graduating senior at Ohio University. I have been following
the Ohio Valley Coal Company and their actions surrounding Dysart
Woods for some time. It seems to have always been a muddy subject–
pitting coal intersts and jobs against the enviornment.
The three proposed permits: Perkins Run waste facility, Captina
Creek destruction, and Captina Creek dumping are not quite so
ambigious. The OVCC has illegally bulldozed Captina Creek.
broke the law. It wasn't by accident. They were testing,
EPA has shuffled their feet ever since. Now that same company
to be trusted to dump mining waste and construct a waste facility.
think it is deplorable.
The Captina Creek site is one of Ohio's cleanest bodies of water-
getting a rating of exceptional warmwater habitat. It is home
endangered species. This should be an easy decision.
A company that knowingly broke environmental law now wants to be
trusted with one of Ohio's cleanest bodies of water. It is time
send a message to all coal interests: you do not make the rules,
Athens Oh 45701
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No one there should be making ANY decision on the future of Dysart Woods
without gotin to see the forest. It is inconceivable to me that
would even think of granting the three permits OVCC is applying
for and it
has neverneen explained to me why OVCC has not been severely penalized
their illegal destruction of the valley, including the stream that
there, before the public hearing regarding the permits for such action
even taken place. What insanity to allow 72,000 gallons of polluted
discharge to be sent out day into Captina Creek, one of
Ohio's cleanest water bodies. I am opposed to all three of three
OVCC is applying for . I have been to the area in question and
was and am
grateful for its existence for naturalists, botanists, of all of us
care about our environment. Please do not allow greed to make
Alden Waitt (Ms.)
P.O. Box 312
Athens, OH 45701
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Letter to OEPA by Lisa Helms
In reference to the Ohio Valley Coal 401 Application you heard last
week on Tues at Belmont Tech, I would like to add the followingcomments.
There was alot of emotion from the miners who felt their jobs are threatened
and alot of the same old argument that the Ohio Valley Coal is the largest
payroll etc... Our organization represents the faction of over 50,
000 people in Belmont County who are NOT mine affiliated. WE ARE THREATENED
For example, I live in Barnesville. In the late 70's they strip mined
Egypt Valley to provide jobs and development. Less than 10 years later,
there were no jobs, no palatable water, no coal and nothing left of our
property tax base. We now pay 1.5% income tax and have four levies on the
books just to keep our school open. Our water supply is surface collection
only. Where is the development? The only thing that is being developed
is the owner's personal net worth. There are now 600 farmers out of work...the
coal company didnt mind taking their water and putting them out of
The EPA is bound by Federal Minumum standards to protect the Public
Health. If economics is now a apart of that look at what the operation
of Ohio valley Coal is doing to the rest of the county, we are burdened
until our backs can't hold anymore. The jobs ARE replaceable by the industry
that will replace either the energy supply or the reclamation of the current
and abandoned mines. There are monies and training programs available for
the true development of our economy. Besides, THIS IS BAD COAL
If Coal mining is such good business for the econmy why are the ten
poorest counties in the state in the coalfields? Despite billions in coal
beneath our feet, we are the most heavily taxed, have the largest welfare
rolls and pay twicw as much fro the power than what they pay in Franklin
County? Where is the development.
A few hundred scared people that are insecure in theri jobs are not
worth the loss of fresh water to everybody else. We need water to live,
we dont need miners or this high-sulfur coal to survive. There are many
cleaner and better elternatives than the ones presented by the OVC.
Consider backfilling the void behind the longwall with the waste. They
have been doing it in Europe for over thirty years all the while selling
their coal on the global market. OVC CHOOSES not to consider these options
for they might only make 40billion instead of 50billion. How many billion
does one comany need and isnt the rest just greed?
Isn't the protection of our water supply worth a few dollars somewhere?
These men will find other work, it has been true for over 100 years.
The coal industry has laid off people for that long and communites have
survived, Belmont County has alot going for it. There has NEVER
been another industry come here for the coal. Actually being in the active
coalfields is the reason used more often for other industry NOT coming
Please do as you have been charged to do and seek a non-degradation
plan that employs backfilling the void or protection of the 100'
buffer zone as established by federal minimum standards. Do this for the
rest of the people of Belmont County not just a relatively few miners mining
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Dear Mr. Johnson,
This is concerning the the
Ohio Valley Coal Company's pending permits
for waste disposal in Belmont County. Mr. Kister has notified me that
one of these permits allows for the discharge of 72,000 gallons of
water per day into environmentally sensitive Creek. I have also been
informed that the performance and compliance of OVCC to the best
industrial and environmental standards have been less than stellar.
presence of an endangered species (E. Hellbender) give me even greater
concern of the potential irreversible damage. As you well know
amphibians are very sensitive to fluxes of pH in their habitat.
My interaction in the past
with both Washington County oil "patch"
workers and Meigs County Coal workers, I was surprised by their cavalier
attitude to property owners and the environment in general. So I am
surprised when Mr. Kister tells me that OVCC has performed illegal
bulldozing. This activity denotes a "Better to ask for forgiveness
permission." attitude. Have you established a base line of these runs
and creeks as they are now? Can you as the EPA monitor daily
conduct of OVCC activities? Can you levy fines greater than the profits
of the coal that is extracted? I see too many streams in my own county
that run rust colored and highly silted.
Please do not give these
permits unless you can without doubt protect
Thank you for your attention,
3 Mary St.
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Letter to OEPA by Helen Stanford
Hello. I am Helen Stanford. I live in Smith township, Belmont
County, Ohio and I attended the hearing at Belmont Tech Tuesday night.
I am wondering if you know anything about the conditions of Bend Fork Creek
and what goes on down there?? Wetland, trees, animals does
not have a chance to grow and live down there. You see, that area
and farther up the creek (for 2-3 miles) is now known as "Seven Creeks"
to the 4 wheelers and big truckers (those mud trucks-I don't know what
they are called). Infact I heard a woman say last summer that it
is known to be one of the best 4wheeling creeks in the USA. All kinds
of "things" happen down there. Our Smith township Fire Department
has to cover that area and last summer they had to "Life Flight" 2 or 3
different times from there plus all the other injured people they can have
to haul out to the hospitals. You may telelphone Henry Saunders (Fire
Dept.) at 10740-686-2412 to ask them about this. Lots of the people
come in from Captina Highway (SR.148) across Captina Creek to get to Seven
Creeks. There would be no way to keep the people out of there
except having a police FORCE standing guard all over at all times down
there. Our sheriff does not have the men or the money to have a special
force living there. People come from all over the United States to
be there on weekends. Please think twice before you accept this from
Bobby Murray. (I own 2 little pieces of land down
there and I won't go down there by myself and not ever on a weekend)
All I can say is ------BEWARE!!!!!!!!!! Don't do it.
Thank you for your time. Helen
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Dear Mr. Johnson,
I am opposed to the Ohio Valley Coal Company's
plans to fill the
Perkins Run area with coal waste, and I feel that three permits OVCC
applied for should all be denied due to the following:
1.) The OVCC has already violated the public's trust and the law by
bulldozing Perkins Run and have proven themselves "unreliable" when
to providing accurate data. Such actions alone should warrant
the denial of
all pending permits, not to mention more serious consequences for OVCC.
2.) Since Captiva Creek is among the highest quality-rated bodies of
in the state, 72,000 gallons of polluted water per day would seem to
great threat to maintaining that level of quality.
3.) Captiva Creek is also home to the endangered Eastern Hellbender
salamander, which would also likely be harmed by 72,000 of polluted
Any of one of the above points is reason enough
for denying the three
permits OVCC has applied for. When all three are taken into account,
a hard time imagining any other just outcome.
127 S. Green Dr.
Atehns, OH 45701
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I’m writing to voice my opposition to the granting of three permits
to the Ohio Valley Coal Company.
The first of the sought after permits would allow OVCC to destroy
Perkins Run. The company has already illegally begun bulldozing the
creek. Rather than reward this behavior with a permit, I would like
to know why action has not been taken against OVCC? If they are
allowed to get away with disregarding the law in this fashion and be
rewarded with the granting of a permit to do what they have already
illegally started, it would set a terrible precedent.
The second permit would allow OVCC to dump up to 72,000 gallons of
polluted discharge into Captina Creek per day. Captina Creek is one
of Ohio’s cleanest bodies of water and has been described as an
“exceptional warm-water habitat”, by Ohio EPA permit specialist Mike
Smith. Eastern Hellbenders, an endangered salamander species live
downstream of the proposed discharge site; I find it difficult to
believe that this pollution would not negatively affect these
salamanders. So for purposes of maintaining the cleanliness of
Captina Creek and preserving the habitat of the Eastern Hellbender,
I’m asking that this permit request be denied.
The third permit request is for OVCC to expand the waste facility
from which the above mentioned pollution would come from. Tests
that the acidity of the creek is increased by five times when
comparing samples collected above the existing facility to those
collected below it. Ohio Valley Coal Company is already having a
negative effect on this creek and I feel that it would absolutely not
be in the best interest of the public to allow them to degrade this
body of water further.
Thank you for your consideration.
7957 Summerside Dr.
Worthington, OH 43085
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This is in regard to the meeting held at the JVC in St. Clairsville
While I have many concerns regarding filling up a stream with coal crud,
and destroying this natural area, the thing
that sticks in my mind most is in regard to the fact that OVC did indeed
proceed with activities that are only
permitted once a permit is granted, and there is no permit at this
point. Therefore OVC should be penalized for this
blatant act of disrespect for the EPA and what it stands for.
I have heard that the logic is to not fine them or "punish" OVC because
the permit will probably be granted and the
point would be moot; therefore the EPA does not want to incur the expense.
If this in inaccurate, please correct me
and ignore what I write next!!
What is the point of having rules and regulations if the coal company
is allowed to blatantly break the rules?? If the
EPA does not fine OVC this sets a precedent for OVC and other coal
companies, or other polluting organizations,
which says they can break the rules and not follow instructions whenever
they feel like it. Further, even though they
have filed for a permit, it appears that they have many questions to
answer before any permit will be granted, based
on what I have read and heard.
If you are caught driving without a license, do you think you will not
be fined, minimally, because you were going to
take the license test, and probably would have passed???????
I think not!! Not only would you have been fined,
you probably would not get your license when you expected to do so,
perhaps having to wait 6 months to a year
before you would be eligible to apply. Do you disagree???
The logic that it will cost the EPA money to fine OVC sounds like hooey
to me!! The fine should be significant and it
most certainly should be high enough to cover the costs of implementation!!
Time to close: it is 4:14 and I have to get this sent today, per my
Please, the EPA has to do the right thing if it wants to have any credibility
Resident of Belmont County
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14 February, 2000
Division of Surface Water
PO BOX 1049
Columbus, OH 43216-1049
Re: Dysart Woods permit
Dear Mr. Johnson:
On behalf of the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition (OVEC), a
environmental organization with 800+ members in Ohio, West Virginia,
Kentucky, please accept the follow comments for the public record:
OVEC is opposed to all three permits for which Ohio Valley Coal
(OVCC) has applied to expand waste treatment facilities on Perkins
Mine waste, which is more than simply dirt, contains sulfur that converts
sulfuric acid when in contact with water, killing sensitive aquatic
forms in the food web.
We understand that OVCC has already illegally bulldozed a stream
wants a permit to entirely destroy it. Federal Judge Charles
H. Haden of
West Virginia recently ruled that it is illegal for mining activity
destroy perennial and intermittent streams (because it violates the
Clean Water Act). Why hasn’t Ohio EPA issued a violation of this
stream destruction? Ohio EPA should not issue any permits to
company which has already flagrantly violated environmental laws.
regulators and caretakers of the environment, it is your mandate to
OVEC also opposes the issuance of a permit that allows the discharge
pollution into Captina Creek, home to a population of Ohio’s largest
salamander, the Eastern Hellbender. The federal Endangered Species
clear that a “taking” of an endangered species includes destruction
habitat. OVEC believes that issuing this permit would be a violation
OVEC also opposes issuance of a permit for OVCC to construct of
facility which would discharge 72,000 gallons of polluted discharge
into Captina Creek. We understand that Captina Creek received
top marks as
one of Ohio’s cleanest water bodies with exceptional warm water habitat.
Each day, as we ready story after story about toxic spills into our
(and planet’s) freshwater systems, we become more and more aware of
to protect our sources of clean water—essential to all life.
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on these permits.
Janet Fout, Project coordinator
Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition
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Coal mining has been scarring and polluting Ohio for too many years.
Please do not support this dying industry at the expense of the
treasures we have at Dysart Woods and Captina Creek.
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It is more or less a truism among biologists, ecologists, etc. that
terrestrial ecosystem that part of the ecosystem above ground is pretty
dependent upon that which is below ground. Even an organization
Ohoio EPA can make that connection. Perhaps, regarding a place
as rare and
precious as Dysart Woods, I should think you might be inclined to reinforce
this basic ecological notion as it pertains to the OVCC's revolting
gut the substrata from beneath this national treasure. In other words
doesn't the Ohio EPA do its JOB and PROTECT something for a change
the bank balances of business and industry in Ohio! For God's
wrong with you people? If you won't PROTECT Dysart Woods, what
protect? Ohio EPA's credibility is almost completely shot. So
stand up for a change? Surprise us! Get the
OVCC the hell away from
D. Treppel, Columbus,Ohio
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Kevin, I oppose coal mining activity under the dysart woods and the
attendant disruption to neighboring ecosystems that mining causes.
economic boast to this area brought by mining will be only temporary,
but will delay the development of jobs that will have a long-term impact
on this area.
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Good morning, Johnson:
Please do not allow the Ohio Valley Coal Company, or any other business
any nature, to mine under Dysart Woods, or mess with that beautiful
Ohio in any fashion.
We have so precious few areas in the Buckeye State that have remained
pristine, and they all seem to be under the gun from developers, mining
companies, logging companies, et al.
My granddaughters and I want to be able to visit Dysart Woods and the
surrounding area until I die, by which time the kiddies will have their
grandkids and can show them what a wondrous thing is an old-growth
Please don't make us journey to the American Northwest to see old-growth
forests: let's preserve the only one that's left here in Buckeyeland!
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The assault by OVCC on valleys in preparation for the undermining of
woods is a reckless murder spree of lifeforms. Please have conscience
protect what is irreplaceable-the support system for Dysart Woods and
surrounding ecology essential for the woods and lifeforms dependent
woods and the intact valleys. Dysart Woods is a home for treasures
our language. The Ohio EPA has been indulged by the trust of
the public to
PROTECT that life for the completeness of our own lives.
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Permits Processing Unit
Division of Surface Water
Comments by Chad Kister,
Coordinator, Dysart Defenders
I will focus these comments on the four criteria for the permit.
three permits clearly do not:
1.Ensure the protection of aquatic life and
2. Comply with all industry standards
3. Employ the best available technology
Or 4. Maintain water quality standards.
Waters in Ohio have withstood massive damage from past coal mining
abuses in Southeat Ohio. Captina Creek is a rare clean stream
degraded landscape. Captina Creek makes up the bulk of the 39.2
of exceptional warmwater habitat in the region of a total of 274.6
of stream according to the 1996 Ohio Water Resource Inventory (305b
report). Clearly this rare exceptional water quality needs to
I am opposed to all three pending permits to fill Perkins Run and its
West and North tributaries with coal waste in Belmont County and to
release 72,000 gallons of polluted water per day into
Captina Creek. It is the Company's intention to get this waste
its mines below Dysart, if they should win the Lands Unsuitable Petition
Appeal court cases.
The State EPA held a second public hearing about these permits Feb.
The coal company again showed their barbarous, rude, obnoxious,
uncivilized, interruptive behavior in violation of Ohio EPA public
The proposed valley fill is just 1,000 feet upstream of Captina Creek.
Why has OVCC not been punished for their illegal destruction of
valley in question, including the stream that flowed there, before
the public hearing
regarding the permits for such action had even taken place? This
has been acknowledged as illegal by the State EPA, yet they continue
drag their feet when it comes to doing something about it. (pictures
destruction are available on web at www.dysartwoods.org)
The existence of an endangered species, the Eastern Hellbender, Ohio's
largest salamander, downstream from OVCC's proposed valley fill should
not only halt the current proposal but force the company to clean up
existing pollution they are causing to the stream. An EPA report
affects of the existing pollution from Perkins run showed that acidity
in Captina Creek increased by 5 and a half times from the pollution
discharge from Perkins Run. This pollution cannot continue.
degrading Captina Creek and threatening our endangered salamander,
The permit would allow the release of 72,000 gallons of polluted
every day into Captina Creek, one of Ohio's cleanest water bodies.
Captina Creek has the highest ibi water quality ranking in Ohio,
according to Mike Smith, Ohio EPA permit specialist for the three
permits OVCC needs for this valley fill.
Captina Creek has already shown an alarming decline from 37 species
30 species from 1983 to 1996 according to OEPA documents. We
return the creek to 37 species through increase protection, not more
Ohio EPA officials found numerous errors with Ohio Valley Coal
Company's "scientists" and found that all of these errors helped to
quality of the stream. The EPA official, Marc Smith of the Division
of Surface Water, said, "Ohio
Valley Coal Company's activities appear to be responsible for this
turbidity" found at the
confluence of the coal companies existing coal waste facility.
The company wants to greatly
expand the facility. The EPA official suggest ground-truthing
the coal company's data, but before
they could complete that, OVCC bulldozed the site illegally.
What were they trying to
hide? What kind of a precedence would this be to allow the illegal
bulldozing of a site to
prevent EPA study, then to give the permits to the company to go ahead?
Is this what will happen
to all endangered species found on land that developers want to develop?
An Army Corps of Engineers letter April 29, 1998 called the West
Tributary of Perkins Run an "undisturbed intermittent stream."
do we now know if it had endangered species? It would set an
dangerous precedent to grant these permits to OVCC. It would
illegal destruction of endangered species and their habitat to avoid
environmental laws. Ohio EPA is notoriously lax in their standards
enforcement of water quality laws, as can be seen by the US EPA's recent
decision to oversee several OEPA cases.
The OEPA must not permit this destruction of our rare exceptional
waters and endangered species.
I will email several photos to include in this comment as well
appendixes to follow.
P.O. Box 31; Athens, OH 45701
Ohio Environmental Protection Agency
To: Duane Davis, 401 Coordinator
From: Marc Smith, DWS, MAS-EAU
Subject: Comments on the Perkins Run Coarse Coal Waste Disposal
Facility 401 Application
As you probably have suspected we have no biological sampling
the small streams that would be affected by the alternatives proposed
for this project. The only sampling data that we have available are
QHEI forms that were completed by Jennifer Kleski of Bair, Goodie and
Associates. My understanding is that she is a hydrogeologist by
training. I'm not sure if she has taken one of Ed Rankin's QHEI training
courses. I wouid appreciate it if you would check that out with your
folks over there.
The reason that I'm raising the issue is that there
problems with how the sheets were filled out. An example would be not
checking boulders as a cover type when in the comments section of that
metric was the statement that majority of cover boulders/cobbles.
Another example would be shallows in slow water was checked but slow
current velocity was not checked. The were several more comparable
discrepancies scattered through the sheets. All of these discrepancies
have the effect of underscoring the quality and therefore the potential
of the streams to support aquatic life. I would strongly suggest a
visit to ground truth the habitat quality of these streams, especially
in view of the proposal to totally eliminate them as streams.
Along the same lines since what is being
proposed is a virtual
elimination of a stream I do not see how we could approve the filling
this system without knowing what the existing quality and the existing
use are. I would therefore recommend that either they hire a consultant
to conduct that sampling this coming field season or you contact SEDO
and determine whether or not they can conduct this sampling. Once we
have a better understanding of the quality of this resource we can
an informed and better decision on how to proceed. Along the same lines
statements are made in the report that are obviously inserted to
minimize the quality of the stream.
One example is the "Note turbidity of the water.
It has a milky
apppearance. However this milky appearance is also evident in photo
at the discharge of the Number 2 Dam, a slurry
impoundment. The Ohio Valley Coal Company's activities appear to be
responsible for this turbidity. Similarly comments are made about
siltation and embeddedness particularly relating this to the stream
flowing through spoil fill. Again these are as a result of activities
the applicant. Pre-application impact caused by an applicant should
be used to justify futher impact.
Another issue that needs to be resolved by folks higher up in
hierarchy is: when is it permissible to eliminate a water of the state?
That appears to be what we are being asked to do. We need to know what
we are legally permitted to do. I would suggest getting Ric Queen
involved in the review of this project since it raises some issues
outside the ordinary.
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As an Athens resident, the plans to mine in Dysart Woods has me worried
only for the ecosystem it will destroy but also the environment it
to pollute. I am concerned for the health of me and my Ohio neighbors!
Also with so few old growth forests remaining, it is crucial protection
This land should not be raped at the expense of the ecosystem and public