CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A group trying to stop a mountaintop mining operation just outside Kanawha State Forest hopes to educate the public this week about why they believe the project is a bad idea.

Members of the Kanawha Forest Coalition held the first of three lunchtime discussions Monday at the Kanawha County Public Library focused on Keystone Industries KD#2 permit to surface mine 418 acres east of the forest. The state DEP approved the permit back in May and work began in June. The coalition has filed a lawsuit to rescind the permit. A decision is expected sometime this month.

Jennifer Smith/MetroNews

Doug Wood is taking part in discussions this week about a controversial mining project.

The public discussions are giving people a chance to learn more about the project from the coalition’s perspective. Currently the permit requires a 588-foot buffer zone

“If we’re that close, there are certain things that can happen that will damage the potential for tourism out there, blasting noise for one thing, dust another thing,” said Doug Wood, a member of the coalition. “There’s potential damage to the water resources that flow through the forest also and to the fish and wildlife.”

Since work began four months ago, Keystone has already had problems working within the permit.

“We were assured initially that the forest would be protected and there have already been five notices of violation issued by the DEP,” said Wood.

He hopes the lunchtime discussions, which also take place on Wednesday and Friday, will encourage more people to get involved in protesting the continued mining.

“The best thing that could happen is if the permit is rescinded. We’d like to see eventually the land change ownership to the benefit of the landowner currently through use of land and conservation fund monies or other land trusts that might be able to pitch in and purchase the property,” stressed Wood.

The coalition said without more grass roots support they won’t succeed.

“It’s going to take a lot of the public involved telling their elected representatives, Governor Tomblin and delegates to look this over very closely,” explained Wood.

The KD#2 permit isn’t the first mining project near the forest. Currently 45 percent of the forest is surrounded by mining operations.

The lunchtime discussions on Wednesday and Friday will take place on the third floor of the Kanawha County Public Library starting at noon.

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  • Steve

    You can't spell coalition without coal!

  • tfishman

    Only nonemployed people will be able to attend.

    • WVTD

      if you are like me and I know I am, I have had my fill of these radical leftists and all the baloney they cart around. from the fake "global warming" to the ice caps melting. mine the coal and dump the slate on these radical liberals. hey doug, my daughter has her hair in a ponytail too, cute. peace, love and coal mining.

  • Pickle Barrel

    "The KD#2 permit isn’t the first mining project near the forest. Currently 45 percent of the forest is surrounded by mining operations."

    Really? Where was the outrage from the "coalition" members before? Why are they now so bent out of shape about this particular mine?

    The "coalition" members need to put their money where their mouth is, stop being hypocrites and turn off their electricity.

    • muse

      You're welcome to come on down to one of the meetings and find out why they're upset about this mine. By the way, why is "coalition" in quotes?

      • Greenspace

        So Muse,

        Assuming your concern is genuinely about public health, and not coal mining, where's the cancer cluster that you suggest should exist from many years of prior mining around the park?

        This "coalition" is being led by Sierra Club activists, correct?

        • muse

          My concern is about the impacts of surface mining on individuals and communities, including my own family and my own community. Public health is one of those impacts. Over two dozen peer-reviewed studies show that surface mining is associated with adverse health impacts. Not one single study shows that surface mining does NOT adversely impact public health. Are more studies needed to tease out the specific conditions and triggers that seem to be causing higher rates of birth defects, cancer, and heart/lung disease in communities near surface mines? Absolutely. Do we have enough information to determine that there is very likely to be a strong causal link between surface mining and these impacts. Absolutely. Many people in the community near this mine are already on oxygen due to other toxins (asbestos and cigarettes being the two main ones) and should not have to have their conditions aggravated by blasting dust.

          • muse

            And no, the Coalition is not led by Sierra Club Activists. It is led by local residents. There is one Sierra Club member in our Coalition. He is from southern WV and has experienced first-hand the impacts of MTR.

      • Pickle Barrel

        I wouldn't waste my time attending one of your meetings. Again, don't be a hypocrite and turn off your power if you don't like the KD#2 mine.

        • muse

          If turning off my power would have any impact, any impact at all, on the KD#2 mine I would do it in a second. Unfortunately, it isn't that simple. The entire state of WV could turn their electricity off and the coal companies would still blast away our mountains to ship the coal to communist China.

          You do understand that there are other ways to generate electricity right? The computer I'm writing from, for instance, is powered by solar panels. Not perfect by any means, but a step in the right direction.

          The trouble is not necessarily with electricity itself, but with how we choose to generate it and how much is wasted. So I chose to use at little electricity as possible (we use about 1/4 as much as the average WVian) and slowly transition to solar and wind as the budget allows.

  • Raise a garden

    I have hiked the entire kanawha state forest back in 2005 and 2006

    It is beautiful.

    But so aren't jobs.

    We have got to get people to understand this State, this Country needs jobs.
    We put in windmills and people raise hell about Virginia Long Ear bats dying , we drill wells people raise hell about salamanders and trees. We build new roads and people raise hell about tolls and taxes. We put a coal mine close to a park that is subsidized by all taxpayers $$ and people raise hell.
    If all the people who just wanna raise hell to be raising hell would just raise a Garden.... We would have no problem with emmisions In our state

    At some point in time people must wake up and realize some people want to work and earn a living and business provides that

    IF you want to live off the government and be a hell raising activist please do so. But do that on China where they are taking our jobs and really polluting our environment

    • muse

      Agreed, gardens are wonderful and we should all garden more. Unfortunately, gardens won't stop strip mining. They do, however, provide us good healthy food and save us a lot of money.

      Agreed about jobs too. We need good long-term sustainable jobs. Coal jobs will end sooner or later, there is no dispute about that. Maybe it's when the coal runs out, but hopefully we transition before that, while we still have drinkable water healthy forests to sustain us.

      • ViennaGuy

        - Coal jobs will end sooner or later, there is no dispute about that. -

        All jobs will end at some point and be replaced with something else. Buggy-whip manufacturing jobs ended decades ago. Jobs involving the charring of wood for blast furnaces ended decades ago. Manual bowling-alley pinsetter jobs ended decades ago. Switchboard operator jobs ended decades ago.

        Saying that a certain type of job will eventually come to an end is no reason to stop that activity now.

        • muse

          "Saying that a certain type of job will eventually come to an end is no reason to stop that activity now."

          If transitioning to a more sustainable economy prevents our drinking water resources from being contaminated and can prevent many people from getting sick or being forced from their homes; I believe those are very good reasons to transition as soon as possible. The longer we wait, the more our water is contaminated, the more people become sick from coal related illnesses (both miners and those who do not mine but live near mines), the more streams are unable to support fish populations that in turn support people, etc etc etc.

          Manual bowling-alley pinsetters were not making people dependent on bottled water and inhalers, thus there was no rush to transition them to safer jobs.

    • Wow


  • David



    • muse

      "OMG!!!! Silica" (-Union Carbide to Hawks Nest Tunnel workers)

      "OMG!!!! Fibers" (-the asbestos industry)

      "OMG!!!! Smoke" (-the tobacco industry)

      "OMG!!!! Lead" (-the paint industry)

      "OMG!!!! Dust" (-the coal industry)

  • Greenspace

    There has been extensive mining around that park for years. Take a look at an aerial photo via Google Maps, you'll see at least 3 current or former surface mines surrounding the southern and eastern sides of the park. Somehow, the park and mining have gotten along just fine until now. This latest objection is about coal, not about the park or tourism.

    • muse

      "A new West Virginia University study has found that dust from mountaintop removal coal-mining operations promotes the growth of lung cancer tumors"

      We live here. It's about our health, our property, our water, our air.

      • The bookman

        In the interest of being complete, the study makes no claim that the dust causes lung cancer, only that by direct application of dust samples to cancerous lung cells, tumor growth was greater. Other factors therefore must be present to initiate the formation of the cancer in the body. I wonder how many other substances added to cancer cells also promotes tumor growth?

        A better approach if you are concerned about public health would be to support anti smoking measures and improved economic conditions for those in the southern coalfields. Those would be two issues that would REALLY improve public health.

        Of course that would leave less time for taking positions against coal.

        • muse

          Yea, we definitely shouldn't do anything about that pedophile, because there's a worse pedophile out there somewhere we should be focusing on.

          We definitely shouldn't do anything about that murderer because there are worse murderers out there somewhere we should be focusing on.

          We definitely shouldn't defend our community, our property, and our health from strip mining because there are people smoking out there that are making themselves and their families sick.

          And apparently it's a zero sum game and we can't support anti-smoking measures and improved economic conditions and also defend ourselves against strip mines at the same time.

          Oh an by the way, China is polluting way more than the US. If we really cared about pollution we would go to China.

          • The bookman

            In the real world, everyone must prioritize and make choices that make the greatest impact. You raised public health as your concern for the region, and held out a scientific study to buttress your position. My point is simply that there are other ways to improve public health in the region, and that your decision to fight against coal actually negatively impacts the region's economy. Living in poverty leads to additional health concerns, making the task to improve public health all the more difficult.

            Given that the study indicates no causal relationship between the "dust" and development of cancer, limited resources would best be spent on known cancer inducing activities, like smoking. Of course the argument is not about health, at least not as much as it is about the abolition of coal mining.

    • The bookman


  • ViennaGuy

    The coalition should offer to buy the property.

    • muse

      They have offered to meet and discuss. Offer declined.

      • ViennaGuy

        Did you put money on the table?

        • muse

          The company would not agree to talk, so there was no opportunity to present options that may have been beneficial to both the out-of-state landowner and the local community.

  • thornton

    Will there be cake served at the meetings....or just fluffy frosting?

    • muse

      Sandwiches. Come on down, Thornton.

      • thornton

        Thanks, but the problem is, the KF...C?, would likely be serving jam sandwiches....two pieces of bread jammed together.
        Nothing in between(well, maybe some old baloney)....analogous to the little to nothing of substance amongst their aging rhetoric.
        All pom-pom and no toboggan, in other words.

        But, I expect an imagined grand struggle against Big Whatever is the real appeal....reality cast aside as necesary.

        • muse

          Guess you won't know what's being served until you show up and hear for yourself. Your imagination is no substitute for reality.

          • thornton

            An environmental Walter Mitty complex appears your created reality.
            I've seen that sad sack on the menu all too is a standard bill of fare at NF Revision Plan meetings.

            It is a shame, as that attitude precludes all but thinking of living out a personal starring role, the like of which has resulted in many missteps in forest and wildlife management thru the years....and, missteps and misjudgments well past this non-starter and short-focus of mining near the KSF.

            Lay down the Mighty Mouse cape and consider beyond that which enables your wished-for identity, high-fives from fellow Mittys and, ultimately, the errors resulting from such a narrow view of the world.