Recorded video from the Camp Branch Permit hearing at Logan High School Theater, by Coalstories
The Camp Branch permit #S501390 is an active 1123.14 acre permit for surface contour mining and mountaintop removal that includes 6 variances (3 Approximate original contour, a Contemporaneous reclamation, Topsoil Substitutes, and Within 100 feet of a stream)
Applicant: Aracoma Coal Company, Inc. (a subsidiary of Alpha Natural resources)
Camp Branch is a major surface mine permit that will heavily impact the Blair Mountain battlefield as well as devastate the integrity of a nearby watershed, the Dingess Run. The Camp Branch Permit is now up for its five-year review for renewal. It is our chance to send comments to the Department of Environmental Protection telling them they need to seriously study the impacts and costs of renewing the permit.
This permit intrudes into the Beech Creek area of the battlefield, a very significant portion of the battlefield that has evidence of intense fighting and complex defensive positions. In addition, if the Camp Branch surface mine is allowed to continue, the battlefield will be cut in two running north-south, which would be highly detrimental to our attempts to make the battlefield into a National Park.
In regards to environmental concerns, this particular permit has already had numerous safety and environmental violations. The Dingess Run watershed, where the Camp Branch mine is situated, has been permitted or is already being mined in 25 percent of the watershed. Dingess Run has a WV Stream Condition Index of 33.6, indicating an already severely impaired stream. The Camp Branch permit would be adding stress to a watershed that is extensively surface mined already. This could directly and cumulatively result in significant and permanent degradation of local and downstream aquatic life.
Take a look at the map courtesy of Friends of Blair Mountain. The orange and black area are surface mine permits and the white area is a outline cushion of the designated battlefield. The black area is the Alpha camp branch surface mine,which is just one of Alphas’ surface mines set to destroy the battlefield using mountaintop removal.