TUCKER COUNTY, W.Va. — A proposal to build a large industrial power generating facility on the edge of the Blackwater Canyon has been shut down, leaving conservation groups celebrating.
The United States Forest Service announced its ruling on the matter this week citing the proposal by Freedomworks LLC was flawed because it conflicted with the approved National Forest Plan. Judith Rodd with Friends of Blackwater, a conservation group around the canyon said people rallied for this result.
“People love Blackwater Canyon and they didn’t want to see that happen,” she said. “They wanted to be preserved and all that beautiful view that the tourism people put out there, to stay like it is.”
Monongahela National Forest Supervisor Shawn Cochran wrote a letter to Freedomworks on March 4 about the proposal, citing regulations that protect the Big Run Bog which would have been affected by the proposal.
“We’re very pleased that the Forest Service followed their forest management plan and said they are not going to allow this disturbance on Big Run Bog, which is a natural landmark,” Rodd said.
The proposal was for a pump storage project where the company would build two reservoirs, one on top of a mountain and one on the bottom of the mountain. The facility would turn generators, turns turbines and creates electricity but Rodd said the effects it would have is not worth what it does.
“Two trout streams would have been totally underwater with this lower reservoir and of course the Black Water Canyon and the viewshed where you would have had this big industrial complex on top of the mountain that you could see from Windy Point,” she said.
Rodd said this would have created a lot of Earth movement and tubes running throughout the underground.