By Brian Sewell
An effort by West Virginians to stop mountaintop removal mining near a state forest failed even as the mine amassed a series of violations.
Lawyers for the Kanawha Forest Coalition argue that the permit for Keystone Industries’ KD No. 2 mine should never have been issued because the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection did not consider the effects of mining on the 1,500-acre Kanawha State Forest Historical District.
Despite those concerns, Kanawha Circuit Court Judge James Stucky refused to void the permit. Lawyers for the mine’s operator argued the case should be reviewed instead by the state Surface Mine Board, which already held hearings on the mine in August and is expected to rule soon on whether the permit was wrongly issued.
Since it began operating in June, the 4,188-acre mine has accumulated 10 citations for violations including failing to report water quality data and blasting on a state holiday, when more visitors are likely to be in the park.