CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Plans to mine coal very near Kanawha State Forest will bring a windfall to the popular Kanawha County recreation area. The DEP issued the mining permit to Keystone Mining for the project after a five year review and adjustment.
Under the permit agreement, Keystone will not use any of the state forest roads for access to the mining site, no valley fills will be created, and there will be an adequate buffer zone between the mining activity and the forest.
“DEP has done a great job working with the coal company and the DNR,” said Department of Commerce Spokesman Hoy Murphy. “We predict those using Kanawha State Forest will rarely see any evidence of the mining that’s going on next door.”
Additionally, Keystone has agreed to offer some mitiigation benefits to the forest. The company will dredge the forest fishing pond which is silted considerably from the last time the work was done in the 1990’s.
The real windfall for the state forest will be a 10 cent per ton fee Keystone agreed to pay.
“That’s estimated to bring in $700,000 over the course of the mining contract,” Murphy said. “That’s money that will be used by Kanawha State Forest.”
Murphy said preliminary plans earmarked the money for construction of a modern office facility for the forest, which will also include public restrooms and possibly conference space and theater for public presentations.