For Immediate Release

October 15, 2004

 The ultimate day of reckoning for Dysart Woods is Friday

            The ultimate day is upon Dysart Woods, with mining now approaching to well within the safety zone of the ancient forest.  Dysart Defenders and the Buckeye Forest Council have applied for a stay to stop mining while the appeal hearing continues.

            After nearly 30 days of hearings over the last 6 months, mining has continued to progress toward Dysart Woods.  Now it is time to put a halt to it because the mining is almost near enough to harm the ancient forest.  Past mining by Ohio Valley Coal Company has impacted parts of the watershed already.  But now the mining will be all around and under the old growth forest, unless the stay from Friday’s hearing is won.

            “This is the ultimate day of reckoning for Dysart Woods,” Kister said.  “If we cannot stop the mining now, what good was the appeal hearings and all of the successful work done by the environmental organizations to prove that the proposed mining would be disastrous to Dysart Woods.”

            Consultants for Ohio Valley Coal Company have found impacts of mining 2,000 feet from the edge of longwall mining.  ODNR documents have shown impacts of underground mining on wells and springs as well.

            Forest Ecology Professor Brian McCarthy testified that the old trees in Dysart Woods are very sensitive to changes in the hydrology, which have been very consistent over long periods of time.  Ohio has already lost more than 99.996 percent of the ancient forest that once covered 95 percent of the state.  It is ironic with a state that had among the most forest historically that we have among the least that is still in its original old growth state.

            Dysart Woods is a National Natural Landmark.  U.S. Representative Dennis Kucinich has called upon Ohio University to act to protect its ancient forest.  Instead, the university signed a settlement agreement to study the impacts of mining.  The purpose of the appeal is to stop, not study the impacts of mining.

            That is why the hearing to stop mining while the appeal to overturn the permit to undermine the ancient forest proceeds is so critical.

            It is imperative that we take the time to attend to this issue, as it is the most critical ever in the long struggle to protect this magnificent crown jewel of Ohio’s natural legacy.

            The appeal hearing has shown blatant distortions of pseudo-science in the permit allowing mining under the ancient forest.  With mining moving at about 500 feet per week, the company only did monthly testing to determine whether the mining impacted springs, giving woefully little data as to impacts of mining on springs greater than 500 feet from the distance of the mine.

            The data did show impacts of up to 2,000 feet from the edge of longwall mining.  That would extend throughout the old growth forest of Dysart Woods.  Currently longwall is permitted to 300 feet from the old growth forest boundaries (though Dysart Defenders has found old growth trees far outside these boundaries).  Also, room and pillar mining is allowed directly underneath Dysart Woods.

            While Ohio Valley Coal Company claims that room and pillar mining does not cause subsidence, it was this very type of mining that caused the sink holes that closed Interstate 70 near Dysart Woods.  The sinkholes caused several car accidents.

            It was seven years ago this week that the most recent movement to protect Dysart Woods escalated with a rally in Athens and a press conference in Columbus.  On October 12, 1997, more than a hundred students and community members rallied in Athens to protect Dysart Woods.

            The effort to protect Dysart Woods is more than 40 years old (see  Now is the time to pay more attention to Dysart Woods. 

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Contact: Dysart Defenders Coordinator Chad Kister: (740) 707-4110 or or