CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The state Department of Environmental Protection issued a surface mining permit Thursday to Keystone Industries that will allow the company to mine property near Kanawha State Forest in Kanawha County.
The DEP said the project has received considerable discussion since it was first submitted in 2009 and several changes have been made in the original request to reduce “potential adverse impact” to the forest.
The agency listed in the changes in a project in a Thursday evening news release:
· Reduction of the overall acreage from 597.87 acres to 413.8 acres
· Elimination of any plans to include valley fills, in-channel fills or in-channel ponds
· Leaving a buffer between the mining operation and all identified channels
· Elimination of proposed surface mining on two coal seams on the forest side, thereby limiting the area mined and increasing the buffer between the mine and the forest from 300 feet to 588 feet at its nearest point (this is nearly double the regulatory requirement)
· A handling plan involving placing rock and dirt removed from this mining site on nearby pre-law mining sites (sites mined prior to 1977 when the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act was implemented) to help with the restoration of those sites
· Requiring that the area be restored to its approximate original contour and that native hardwood trees be replanted
· Requiring that the ridge facing the forest be mined last, thereby limiting the time the operation is visible to park visitors
· Acceleration of the reclamation timeframe
· Limiting blasting during times of heavy park usage, such as on holidays and weekends, except in emergency situations
· Pre-blast surveys and seismographic monitoring for architectural structures of historical significance located within the forest
The DEP said Keystone also has agreed not to use state forest roads for mining activity. It will also clean out the sediment filled fishing pond and pay a 10 cents for every ton of coal mined to the DNR as mitigation costs.