Ohio University sells out Dysart Woods

            Ohio University is poised to reach a settlement with Ohio Valley Coal Company and the Ohio Division of Mineral Resources in which they will study the affects of mining under Dysart Woods, and drop their appeal said OU Legal Affairs Director John Burns.

            “The purpose of an appeal is to stop the affects of mining, not study them,” said Dysart Defenders Coordinator Chad Kister.  “Ohio University needs to stay in the appeal and not sell out for short-term political expediency.  Studying is not enough.  We already have a plethora of data showing the adverse affects of mining on the hydrology of Belmont County and the forests.

            Dysart Defenders, with its attorney and expert witnesses will carry on the struggle with its appeal of the Ohio Division of Mineral Resources permit D-0360-12.  That permit would undermine all three old growth forest areas of Dysart Woods and allow room and pillar mining all around the forest within 300 feet, close enough to cause massive damage.

            Dysart Woods is among the last .004 percent of old growth forest left in Ohio.  It is the only significant stand of the old growth forest that once covered southeast Ohio.  The 40+ year studies of Dysart make it a unique scientific jewel.  To allow mining by definition takes away its unique status as a virgin forest.  It destroys all of the scientific value of the forest for future generations who need to learn how a virgin forest behaves by causing massive impacts.

            And fundamentally, it is a moral low for Ohio, which has already destroyed 99.996 percent of its original ancient forest to now destroy this last fragment for a “resource,” coal.  Coal is in overabundance and should not be burned because of its plethora of environmental problems such as global warming, acid rain, mercury, and particulate pollutions that poisons and murders thousands of people every year in Ohio according to the Public Research Interest Group.

            We have an enormous amount of coal but only a tiny amount of old growth forest.  Ohio University signed a pledge with the Nature Conservancy that it would act to protect Dysart Woods in perpetuity.  This settlement is a gross violation of that pledge.  OU is a public institution.  It is critical that the public work to take back our university from those who are making decisions to allow the destruction of Dysart Woods.

            Donations are crucially needed to fund the legal appeal.  Checks can be made to “Dysart Defenders” and mailed to P.O. Box 31; Athens OH 45701.  Donations can also be made online at www.dysartwoods.org.