Left Fork Surface Mine on Blair Mountain

From our friends at Friends of Blair Mountain

The coal companies are once again expanding their surface mining operations toward the Blair Mountain battlefield, and have submitted yet another permit for review. We need your help to stop this encroachment, and you can do so by writing a comment letter to the WV Department of Environmental Protection. We will also be requesting a public hearing, and will keep you informed about when that will be.

The deadline for comments is February 2, and we have provided a sample letter below (or download pdf version )

It is for the Left Fork permit, which is a larger permit that has already been permitted. What the companies are doing now is submitting smaller additions; this one we are contesting right now is a 109.5 acre addition to a 1308.5 acre permit. In June of 2011, they added 54.55 acres. They are doing this in order to avoid submitting a larger permit that would involve more stringent review processes. This addition is would bring the surface mine right up to the boundary of the battlefield, and would certainly encroach upon the viewshed of the overall battlefield.

So, if you want to help stop this, get your comments in by February 2nd. To be considered, the comment letter must include the following:

Applicant Name: Mingo Logan Coal Company
Application Number: S-5081-87

Address to send it to:
Permit Supervisor
1101 George Costas Drive
Logan, WV 25601


Sample Letter:

To: Permit Supervisor
1101 Kostas Drive
Logan, WV 25601

Re: Permit S-5081-87
Mingo Logan Coal Company

Dear Sir or Ma’am,

I am writing in regards to my concerns about the addition of 109.5 acres to the Left Fork permit. This will further encroach against the Blair Mountain Battlefield and the Area of Potential Effects. This addition will contribute to further cumulative impacts of surface mines in the area, all of which combined should be taken into consideration in deciding the issuance of this permit.

Peer-reviewed science has shown that surface mining is linked to a number of health risks, and the discharge of this surface mine into the Spruce Fork of the Little Coal River will add contaminants to an already highly polluted watershed. This permit has been cited for numerous violations including surface water violations that resulted in contamination of local streams, failures to adequately construct drainage and sediment ponds on the facility, and air quality violations that resulted in excessive release of airborne particulates during blasting. There violations show a pattern of neglect that place local communities in immediate harm.

In addition, no substantial archaeological work has been done in the permit area, and because of the extreme national importance of the Blair battlefield, proper investigations should be undertaken. Even with investigations, the topography of the battlefield and surrounding areas is an artifact in itself since it is integral to understanding the dynamics of the battle. The area should remain undisturbed from surface mining. Furthermore, issuing this permit would disregard the strong objections provided to the WV DEP by the WV State Historic Preservation Office.

In the end, I respectfully ask that this permit be denied for the above stated reasons.