Ohio Valley Coal Co. requests permit to mine under Dysart Woods!

Despite repeated denials by Ohio Valley Coal Co., OVCC has requested to mine directly under Dysart Woods, and underneath dozens of acres of the Dysart Woods Lands Unsuitable Petition area that the ODMR declared should be off limits to some kinds of mining.

The permit declares that the entry main permit (D-0360-9) is for the company intends to mine the entire Dysart Woods property and the entire buffer zone declared in the Lands Unsuitable Petition. Once money has been invested into mining under Dysart Woods, OVCC could try to force the ODMR to allow mining under all of Dysart because money had been invested in that mine.

D-0360-9 Permit Manager for the Ohio Division of Mineral Resources (ODMR) Scott Stitler said that information about the amount of land in the LUP buffer zone and the watershed buffer zone that would be undermined with -9 needs to be known before the ODMR could make a decision. He did not know that information, however.

Stitler said the permit is for room and pillar mining 20 feet in height (about 4 times the size of traditional mining) for a gates and main entry channel to mine the entire Dysart Woods. "The main purpose is to get a gait and main permit ready so they can feed off that," he said. "Their futures map shows that they intend to go right under the whole area of the OU property (Dysart Woods).

"There futures map shows that they could go under it," Stitler said.

The coal seam in the area varies from 4.6 to 7.6 feet and averages 465 feet deep. Room and pillar mining inevitably subsides, creating sink holes like the one under I-70 that occurred very near Dysart Woods. Dysart Woods is only 7 miles from I-70.

Despite repeated promises by the ODMR to Dysart Defenders coordinator Chad Kister that he would be notified should the permit be taken off hold, last October (2000), OVCC took the permit of hold with the ODMR and Kister did not find out until he called October 3, 2001. But Kister has called more than half a dozen times since OVCC took the permit off hold, and ODMR representatives have lied, saying that it was still on hold.

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. Dysart Defenders requested a public hearing with the ODMR and the groups intends to appeal the permit if it is passed by the ODMR.

It is ecological insanity that OVCC intends to mine right under Dysart Woods.  OVCC has repeatedly told media that he would not seek a permit to mine under Dysart Woods after he had requested the ODMR to do just that.

The ODMR and leading scientists have consistently said that subsidence will occur over time. The impact might take dozens of years to be fully seen. 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 the ancient forest.