For Immediate Release

April 27, 2001

Contact: Chad Kister (740) 594-7287, Chris Evans (740) 589-6057

Dysart Defenders appeals Reclamation Commission exemption decision

Dysart Defenders appealed the Ohio Reclamation Commission decision exempting Ohio Valley Coal Company from the Lands Unsuitable Petition into the Belmont County Court of Appeals earlier this week.

The case will be argued in that court - it is part of the 7th District Court of Appeals headquartered in Youngstown. Dysart Defenders also submitted the appeal to the Ohio Reclamation Commission on Monday, April 23.

The Ohio Reclamation Commission decision went against legal precedent by extending the exemption of the 1977 SMCRA law far beyond what Congress and the Courts intended. Ohio law is clear that coal reserves alone do not constitute a significant financial or legal commitment to mining operations prior to January 4, 1977. OVCC did not have a mine anywhere near Dysart Woods prior to 1977.

The Ohio Reclamation Commission ruling on Ohio Valley Coal Company’s motion opens Dysart Woods to coal mining permits, including a pending permit to mine directly underneath Dysart Woods. OVCC Permit D-0360-9 would allow mining directly under Dysart Woods. That permit is virtually complete and could be issued within weeks of its suspension status being removed, said Scott Stitler, permit manager for the Ohio Division of Mines and Reclamations.

"That Dysart Woods is still not protected nearly 40 years after the land was first saved from logging is a sad testimony to the anti-environmental sentiment of Ohio’s Governor Bob Taft and Ohio Division of Natural Resources Director Sam Speck," said Dysart Defenders Coordinator Chad Kister. "But it is not so surprising since Governor Taft put the head of the Ohio coal mining lobby, Ronald Kolbash, in charge of mining regulation for the state."

Ohio University has appealed the decision jointly with Dysart Defenders.

At the Ohio Reclamations Commission hearing on the exemption appeal December 12-13, Ohio Valley Coal Company CEO Robert Murray assaulted Kister because Kister was trying to take his picture. The Columbus Police and Franklin County Prosecutors are investigating the case.

Dysart Defenders will hold a benefit concert May 18-19 at the Linkers farm just outside Athens with bands from throughout the Midwest. Dysart Defenders volunteers are rebuilding the stage for the event. Tickets are available at School Kids Records in Athens on Court Street, School Kids Records in Columbus on High Street and Moll’s Records in Cincinnati (Clifton). Tickets sell for $10 and cover camping and parking. A map and directions are at or by calling (513) 651-5026 in Cincinnati or (740) 589-6057 in Athens.

Bands include Ray’s Music Exchange, Guest, Nine of Rhymes, 60 Cycle Hum, D.J. Phoenix, T.V. Yellow, Is What!?, Fermata, Ngoma, Mine, Gill and more starting Friday May 18 at 5 p.m. until very late and Saturday May 19 at noon until very late at night.

All proceeds go toward the campaign to protect Dysart Woods. "We need adequate funding for our legal defense of Dysart Woods," Kister said. "We are confident that we will win on this appeal. We will appeal all the way to the Ohio Supreme Court if necessary."

This Press Release was written and sent using solar electricity