Group alleges illegalities in surface mine permit - WTRF 7 News Sports Weather - Wheeling Steubenville

Group alleges illegalities in surface mine permit

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Keystone Industries’ KD Surface Mine No. 2 near Kanawha State Forest has been causing a ruckus in the community since it was first issued an operating permit in May, and the site has recently garnered controversy once again.

After West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection inspectors issued two notices of violation (NOVs) to the mine this month, including one that partially halted work operations, several environmental advocates saw a window of opportunity to throw shots at the DEP.

The Keeper of the Mountains Foundation, in addition to several individuals, issued a motion July 18 asking the West Virginia Surface Mine Board to postpone the Aug. 11, 2014 hearing until September, proposing that the DEP erroneously issued the KD No. 2 mining permit to Keystone.

In the motion, the appellants addressed several issues they believe the DEP and SMB need to revisit in the upcoming hearing.

First, the motion argues that the permit was issued under an obsolete 2006 soil survey rather than the most recent 2013 survey, which wielded different results. Consequently, appellants argued, the Surface Water Run Off Analysis did not comply with applicable regulatory requirements.

Aside from the NOVs issued to the mine this month, appellants also cited nearly 60 NOVs that have been issued to other mines operated by Keystone and Revelation Energy, a Keystone affiliate, between July 26, 2001 and July 11, 2014.

“Plainly, the extensive history of prior violations of ongoing permits recited here warrants a closer scrutiny of the current permit,” the motion reads.

The appellants also allege that the DEP stated in a Sept. 17, 2009 letter to Keystone that if project was not started prior to May 15, 2014, that new endangered species surveys should be scheduled; however, Keystone did not receive the permit until May 19, but did not conduct a new survey.

Additionally, the motion states that the permit was issued prior to obtaining consent from the State Historic Preservation Office, contrary to applicable law.

“In short, it is not seriously disputable that the DEP intentionally violated the law by issuing a permit without prior SHPO approval for the sole purpose ... to meet the deadline associated with the expiration of the 2009 bat survey,” the document reads. “But it is axiomatic that one illegality cannot cover another.”

View the entire 21-page motion online at http://ftpcontent.worldnow.com/wowk/motionstay.pdf.