Action Alert

July 18, 2003   

Public Hearings on Mountaintop Removal

Division of Highways and Public Service Commission Hold Public Meetings on Coal Trucks

Rescue Democracy

Public Hearings on Mountaintop Removal

Monday, July 21 - The WV Department of Environmental Protection (WV DEP) will hold a public hearing on DEP revisions to post mining land use regulations at its Nitro headquarters beginning at 6pm.

According to Matt Crum, DEP Director of Mining and Reclaimation, the proposed rewrite of the regulations uses recent research to improve the chances that mined sites designated for forestland and wildlife habitat won't end up as barren grasslands. Included in the proposal is a provision that would require coal companies to put a minimum of two feet of topsoil on reclaimed sites, with some exceptions.

For more click here. DEP is taking comments on the proposed regulations until the end of the public hearing.

The proposed changes can be found online here.  Near the bottom of that web page, search for regulation 38-2, which is 273 pages long and deals with MTR regulations, including new forestland and wildlife post-mining land use regulations. A summary of the 2004 proposed changes to surface mining rules can be downloaded here

Thursday, July 24 -- Public hearing on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on Mountaintop Removal in Appalachia released by the US Army Corps of Engineers, US Environmental Protection Agency, US Fish and Wildlife Service, US Office of Surface Mining and the WV Department of Environmental Protection. The hearing will be held at the Charleston Civic Center Little Theater, 200 Civic Center Drive, Charleston, WV. There will be two sessions. The first session will be from 2pm to 5pm and the second session will be from 7pm to 11pm.

Written comments on the study may be submitted to John Forren, US Environmental Protection Agency (3EA30), 1650 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103 until August 29.

The draft EIS and its associtated appendices are posted at the EPA Region III website here.   Copies can also be viewed at local agency offices and some public libraries.

For more information, background, news links, etc. on mountaintop removal visit the websites of the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition and the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy.

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Division of Highways and Public Service Commission Hold Public Meetings on Coal Trucks

On Tuesday July 1, WV Department of Transportation Secretary Fred Van Kirk released an proposed list of roads that may be included in the "Coal Resource Transportation System" established when the legislature passed SB583 earlier this year. (See list here). Beginning July 29, the DOH will hold a series of public meetings as it tries to decide which roads will be designated for coal trucks weighing 120,000 pounds. The public meeting schedule is as follows:

Tuesday, July 29 - 3 to 7 p.m. Mount View High School in Welch.

Wednesday, July 30 - 3 to 7 p.m. Room A of the National Guard Armory in Beckley.

Tuesday, Aug. 5 - 3 to 7 p.m. Chief Logan State Park Convention Center (between Chapmanville and Logan).

Wednesday, Aug. 6 - 3 to 7 p.m. in the cafeteria of Riverside High School in Belle.

The DOT will also accept written comments until October 1.

Submit written comments to: John Lancaster, WV Division of Highways, Planning and Research Division, 1900 Kanawha Blvd. East - Bldg. 5, Charleston, WV 25305. The list of candidate roads is also available at DOH district offices and county courthouses, and covers more than 1,700 miles of road in 15 counties.

This week the Public Service Commission released a list of proposed rules it will use to enforce SB 583. The PSC has scheduled four workshops to explain the rules, as well as the application and permitting process for coal haulers. The public will have the opportunity to ask questions and make comments. Two workshops will be held on each of the following day:

Tuesday, August 12 at Chief Logan State Park, 1pm to 3pm and 6pm to 8pm.

Thursday, August 14 at the National Guard Armory in Beckley, 1pm to 3pm and 6pm to 8pm.

In addition the draft rules will be explained on the "inside the PSC" television show starting Monday, July 21. The show will be show on the Library Television Network which is carried by a number of cable systems. The 30-minute show will repeat several times each week and will be shown for a month. Check local listings for the schedule.

Copies of the proposed rules are posted at the PSC's website.

You can submit written comments on the proposed rules until October 1. Comments should be sent to: Sandra Squire, Executive Secretary, WV Public Service Commission, 201 Brooks Street, Charleston, WV 25301.

Links to several news stories on the draft rules are available on our website.

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Rescue Democracy

The Citizens for Clean Elections is sponsoring two events featuring Ms. Cecilia Martinez, Executive Director of the Reform Institute for Campaign and Election Issues and the former Executive Director of the Clean Elections Institute in Arizona. Ms. Martinez will talk about how well Clean Elections are working in Arizona and she'll show a special video message to West Virginians from Senator John McCain, who supports this voluntary, public funding system of elections.

Sunday, August 3 - 6:30pm to 8:30pm Reception at the Dockside Bar and Grill, # 2 Kanawha Blvd. East, Charleston. The program with Ms. Martinez begins at 7pm. Complimentary appetizer and non-alcoholic drinks will be served, and a cash bar will be available.

Monday, August 4 - "Democracy Rescue Forum" co-sponsored by the Huntington League of Women Voters. 7pm to 8:30pm at the Cabell County Public Library, 455 9th Street Plaza, Huntington, WV. Third Floor, Rooms 1 and 2.

For more information call CAG at (304) 346-5891 or OVEC at (304) 522-0246.

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