Arch Coal Submits New Mine Ventilation Shaft Plan Near Tygart Lake State Park
TAYLOR COUNTY -
Arch Coal has proposed a new location for its ventilation shaft near Tygart Lake State Park in Grafton after residents and park visitors spoke out unfavorably about its initial location.
The new site proposed by ICG Tygart Valley LLC is more than 2,600 feet away from the state park boundary, compared to the initial proposal of approximately 300 feet. The Department of Environmental Protection also said the new location is located on top of a densely forested ridge instead of in a valley. The new proposal indicates that the ventilation shaft would not be very visible due to its location and the trees the company plans to plant around it.
Other concerns residents and park visitors voiced included bright lights in the area of the project, which Arch Coal proposes lighting be directed downward, using a diffuser, and will be "utilized only to the extent necessary to provide necessary security, and employee safety". To reduce noise, Arch Coal wants to place the fan motor in a cinderblock structure with noise dampening foam, that will be covered with sound-proofing materials. The ventilation air would be directed upward and isn't expected to have adverse public health or environmental effects, said a news release from the DEP.
Arch Coal would construct the project in the fall and winter, when there are fewer park visitors. The DEP said the plan doesn't include blasting and surface runoff would be captured by temporary drainage controls directed away from the lake.
The DEP's Division of Mining and Reclamation will review the plan and will consider public comments during a public comment period after four advertisements explaining the project are published.
In April, TaylorCounty residents expressed their concerns to the Department of Environmental Protection about a proposed mine shaft near TygartLakeState Park.
Many said they were worried the shaft would disturb TygartLake's beauty and relaxing atmosphere.
The silence is what residents of TygartLake said they love the most about their home.
"Peace and quiet and being associated with the lake and the camp grounds and just the recreation," Robert Choff said.
Arch Coal's Leer Mine announced it was planning to install a ventilation shaft that was right across the street from the park a couple of months ago.
"When you look at your land, and you look at your farm that you've put all of your life and your money and your efforts into building a beautiful place, you realize they can come in and destroy that," said Beth Baldwin, who lives about a mile from the state park.
"We don't want to listen to a loud fan all the time," added business owner Deborah Shaffer.
A couple of weeks later, 12 News was informed Arch Coal withdrew its application.
A statement from the DEP reads:
"ICGTygartValley, LLC (Leer Mine) withdrew their pending Incidental Boundary Revision #7 application from the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection. The Revision was to place a ventilation shaft near Woodyard road in TaylorCounty. The company has submitted two additional Incidental Boundary Revisions for similar ventilation sites the Department is currently reviewing," said Randall Moore, Permit Supervisor.
We have reached out to Arch Coal and DNR, but they have not commented on the situation.