The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has ordered a permanent halt to mining activities at the Keystone Development No. 2 mine (KD No.2).
Active mining had been suspended at the mine since early 205, after significant violations of state mining and environmental laws were uncovered at the mine – many of them from monitoring data submitted by the Kanawha Forest Coalition.
The coalition has campaigned against the mine, which sits just outside the Kanawha State Forest. The mine is also with 1500 ft of homes in Loudendale, just outside of West Virginia’s state capital, Charleston.
The KD No. 2 mine was first proposed in 2009 with final permit approval coming in 2014, after several major changes to meet environmental concerns. Despite this, the mine has significantly impacted surrounding land, according to the Kanawha Forest Coalition.
“The lessons learned at the KD No.2 mine should be wake-up call to West Virginia residents, lawmakers and regulators that even the best engineering and closest scrutiny can’t make strip mining safe,” said Coalition Coordinator, Chad Cordell. “It should come as no surprise, to the DEP or anyone else, that strip mining pollutes water.”
According to the consent order signed by the company, “no additional mineral extraction activities may occur on this permit”. The company must also backfill and regrade the permit areas within nine months. About 100 acres of the 413 acre permit area has been mined.
The Kanawha Forest Coalition also called on the DEP and West Virginia lawmakers to reconsider all strip mining in the state.
“The campaign was never about stopping just this one mine,” Cordell concluded. “Many other communities are being hurt by strip mining and both the DEP and our state lawmakers need to acknowledge and act on the reality of strip mining’s widespread impacts.
Edited by Jonathan Rowland.