The Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet held a public hearing on March 29 regarding a petition to ban surface coal mining on more than 10,000 acres surrounding the towns of Benham and Lynch.
The petition was filed by four area residents and the nonprofit organization Kentucky Resources Council. They argue that declaring the land near the towns off-limits to surface mining is necessary to protect the watersheds that supply municipal water sources and the historic towns’ viewsheds.
The group originally filed the request in 2010. It was denied, and the petitioners appealed. In 2018, the state reversed its decision and allowed the group to resubmit their claim.
The state of Kentucky once again denied the petition in January 2019, citing existing mining permits, but the following week changed course and scheduled the petition’s March 29 public hearing. According to Tom FitzGerald of Kentucky Resource Council, the state also put a pending extension of a strip mining permit for Revelation Energy on hold.
Details on the hearing were not available at press time. Visit appvoices.org/thevoice for updates.