September 27, 2018 Read More →

Strip-mining proposed on part of state forest in Perry County

Columbus Dispatch:

If approved, Oxford Mining would discharge wastewater into Buckeye Fork, Moxahala Creek and Rush Creek, which flows into the Hocking River, according to an application.

If approved, Oxford Mining would discharge wastewater into Buckeye Fork, Moxahala Creek and Rush Creek, which flows into the Hocking River, according to an application.

Ketcham, an active member of Friends of the Perry State Forest, plans to attend a public meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday at New Lexington High School, 2547 Panther Drive, to express concerns to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

“The public comment and involvement process leaves a lot to be desired,” she said, remembering when the Ohio Department of Natural Resources allowed logging on the proposed mining site. “People started asking questions, and that’s what led us down this path. The state looked at this as a done deal even before permits were reviewed.”

The Ohio EPA issued a statement that the project would improve water quality because the site was mined in the 1930s and ’40s before environmental regulations were passed. The state acquired the land that is now Perry State Forest in 1961.

“Oxford plans to go back and surface-mine what coal is remaining, and in doing so, now will be required to follow regulations that are protective of the environment,” James Lee, an EPA spokesman, said in an email. “Oxford also plans to remove the pits of low-pH water, fix the iron seeps and remove the highwalls.”

Ketcham is skeptical that Oxford is financially able to make improvements to the property once it finishes mining. According to a report issued in February by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, the coal company has a massive debt load and has been “losing money quarter after quarter for the past few years as electricity-generation markets have moved away from coal.”

Strip-mining proposed on part of state forest in Perry County

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