ODMR approves mine entry permit area under Dysart Woods!

The Ohio Division of Mines and Reclamations has approved a permit by Ohio Valley Coal Company (OVCC) to allow mining impacts to Dysart Woods, and underneath hundreds of acres of the Dysart Woods Lands Unsuitable Petition area that the ODMR declared should be off limits to some kinds of mining and the Dysart Defenders has appealed to strengthen it to allow no mining.

"While ODNR spokesperson Jim Lynch said that the permit was nowhere near the woods, the permit in fact goes underneath Dysart Woods according to the permit manager, Scott Stitler," said Dysart Defenders Coordinator Chad Kister. "The ODNR is disseminating false information in their effort to placate public opposition to this action. But maps do not lie. The maps, which will soon be at show that the 1,100 acre permit goes directly underneath Dysart Woods and the buffer zone established by the Ohio Division of Mines and Reclamations."

Stiteler said Dec. 10 that the permit area of the approved -9 permit includes 91.3 acres of the Dysart Woods property that is owned by Ohio University. OU Legal Affairs Director John Burns said he is studying the issue before deciding whether OU will appeal.

While Lynch said that this will strictly be an entry, with no coal mined, in fact Stiteler said "they will encounter coal." Further, the mine entry is taller and receives a much greater volume of traffic than other mined areas, making its impact on the forest far greater. And, as OVCC has made clear with its filing of the D-0360-12 permit last month (-12 for short), the company wants to mine virtually every acre underneath the old growth forest of Dysart Woods.

Room and pillar mining inevitably subsides, creating sink holes like the one under I-70 that occured very near Dysart Woods. Dysart Woods is only 7 miles from I-70.

Dysart Woods is among the last .004 percent of remaining ancient forest left in Ohio. It is among the most endangered ecosystems in the world according to the U.S. Department of Interior. "The ODMR and leading scientists have consistently said that subsidence will occur over time. The full impact of sinkholes and subsidence might take dozens of years. But water drainage occurs immediately. Further, OVCC is working to allow longwall mining directly underneath all of Dysart Woods in court. OVCC needs to withdraw their permit to mine under this ancient forest," Kister said.

Dysart Defenders has an appeal of the Lands Unsuitable Petition decision requesting that it forbid room and pillar mining in the full watershed buffer zone of Dysart Woods. This should give added legal power to an appeal of the -9 permit, because the Lands Unsuitable Petition was filed prior to the -9 permit.

An appeal would be due 30 days after the November 30 decision. The permit area for the -9 permit is more than a thousand acres. Stiteler said that this is the shadow area that could be impacted by mining. Further, mining at the 400 foot depth affects a very wide area, including all of the south old growth forest area. This area is within the watershed buffer zone of Dysart Woods that has all been requested protected from all mining in the Dysart Defenders Lands Unsuitable Petition appeal.

Dysart Defenders is raising funds for the appeal of the -9 permit and the much larger -12 permit, that would allow mining directly underneath the old growth forest. Checks can be made to "Dysart Defenders" and mailed to P.O. Box 31; Athens, OH 45701.