WV DEP Halts Mining Operations Near Kanawha State Forest, Blocks Future Permits

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A strip mine next to the Kanawha State Forest has been told it must shut down its operation. For months, environmental activists have been asking the DEP to stop the mountain top removal mining happening near the stat forest, but they weren't alone. On Friday, people who live in a community near the mine are celebrating after work at the KD Number 2 Mine has come to a halt. The DEP revoked Keystone Industries' permit, meaning no mountain top removal mining near the state forest any time soon. The company is also blocked from getting a new permit anywhere in the county. "I did a happy dance in front of the DEP and I did another happy dance inside," Daile Boulis said. The DEP found 25 violations at the 413 acre site where mining just started a year ago.The violations include failing to build proper sediment and drainage structures and lack of water monitoring. People who live close to the Kanawha State Forest said their main issue with the surface mine is the runoff of chemicals that leaks into their water supply."We were concerned about that because we are on well water and want to stay that way and our other concerns were about the blasting because it can destroy your foundation," Boulis said. Ronald Hamrick lives down the street from the Kanawha State Forest, and first expressed his concerns about the mining project in March. "For the most part the, mine owners get what they want and the people just have to live with it. So I got a little discouraged but now I'm hopeful," Hamrick said. There's no telling how long Boulis' victory dance will last. The stop order is only temporary. "We just had to make it basically financially un-feasible for them to mine up here, not the DEP but the mining companies because in the state of West Virginia that's where the bottom line is," Boulis said. The stop order is not final and can be reversed down the line by the DEP, but the Kanawha Forest Coalition is calling on DEP to issue a show cause order. That means the mining company would have to go to court to get its permit back.{}

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection has ordered mining operations to cease near Kanawha State Forest and blocked the mine operator and permit holder from getting any new permits anywhere in the country.The DEP said in a news release it issued a failure to abate cessation order for the K.D. No. 2 surface mine adjacent to the forest following a series of violations at the site in the 13 months since the permit was issued. The agency also entered mine operator Revelation Energy and permit holder Keystone Development into the national Applicant Violator System this week. That blocks both companies from being granted any new permits anywhere in the country, the DEP said. {}Since May 5, 2014, when the permit for the operation was issued, the DEP has cited the operation more than 20 times for violations that include failure to properly construct and maintain sediment control structures, failure to protect off-site areas from slides, exceeding blasting limits, failure to meet monitoring, sampling and reporting requirements and exceeding water quality discharge limits. {}"Our mining program has been very diligent about monitoring this site.{} Because of the close proximity to the forest, we have gone above and beyond the normal regulatory requirements for both permitting and inspection enforcement," said DEP Cabinet Secretary Randy Huffman. {}To get the cessation order lifted and to be removed from the Applicant Violator System, Revelation would need to submit and get DEP approval of a plan to fully abate the violations and to reclaim the site.News about the DEP's actions comes the same day the Kanawha State Forest Foundation planned to hold a demonstration and hand deliver a letter calling on the DEP to revoke the permit based on the pattern of violations.