Dysart Defenders outnumber coal company more than two to one

While Ohio Valley Coal Company claimed that they would use Wednesday’s public hearing to show their side, only two people in favor of the permit spoke compared to seven Dysart Defenders who spoke and turned in 450 petition signatures requesting the ODMR deny the -13 permit to undermine the watershed buffer zone of Dysart Woods.

While Ohio Valley Coal Company claims that it does not intend to undermine Dysart Woods, it has a pending permit, -12, that would do just that. The -12 permit includes the undermining of all of Dysart Woods mostly by longwall mining, with room and pillar mining under the old growth forest. While OVCC continues to claim that it does not intend to mine under the old growth forest, their permit application shows that they intend to room and pillar mine under the ancient forest. "It is OVCC that is giving the misleading information," Kister said.

And, while OVCC claims there will be no subsidence, room and pillar mining inevitable does cause subsidence and dewatering, just not as immediately as with longwall mining.

At the public hearing, Kister showed photos from the Ohio Division of Mineral Resources web site of 30 foot wide craters, 20 feet deep caused by room and pillar mining subsidence. The ODMR has documented the dewatering of wells caused by room and pillar mining of the Pittsburgh #6 coal seam, which is the same seam OVCC intends to mine.

While OVCC claims that the -13 permit is not a gate to the -12 permit, ODMR permit manager Scott Stiteler said that the -13 permit appears to service the -12 permit.

Dysart Defenders coordinator Chad Kister testified that undermining the watershed buffer zone would be against the ODMR regulations that require the protection of unique natural areas such as Dysart Woods. Kister used many maps and pictures to explain that the -13 permit would undermine the upper watershed of Dysart Woods, draining water down to the level of mining. This would prevent that water from flowing into the ancient forest where it is currently used by the 500+ year old trees.

OU Forest Ecology Professor Brian McCarthy opposes room and pillar and longwall mining under Dysart Woods or its watershed.