July 29, 1997

OU Facilities Planning Director John Kotowski: 614-593-2727
Environmental Activist Chad Kister: 614-448-3343 or 593-2727 or chad@pageville.com
Barnsville Environmental Activist Lisa Helms: 614-425-1470 or rockroll@mail.1st.net

Hearing scheduled August 4 for Dysart Woods fate

 The Ohio Department of Natural Resources will hold a public hearing August 4
at 1 p.m. at the Belmont Technical College, Red Room, 120 Fox Shannon Place
in St. Clairsville, Ohio, about Ohio Valley Coal Company's pending permit to mine
more than 4 square miles four tenths of a mile upstream from Dysart Woods.

 Dysart Woods is the last significant stand of mixed mesophytic
ancient forest left in the world with trees 400 to 500 years old.  Much of
the proposed mining in the pnding permit D-360-7 is in the watershed of
Dysart Woods that scientists say could harm the ancient forest.  OU
officials, professors and the Department of Interior (Dysart is a National
Natural Landmark) have all asked that a buffer zone based on the watershed
of Dysart Woods should be protected from mining.

 Everyone in Ohio is encouraged to attend the hearing and voice
concerns for the fate of the last significant stand of ancient forest left
in Ohio.  All proceedings will be taped, and comments may be submitted in
either written or verbal form.  The ODNR suggested that presenters prepare
a summary of their view on the permit application prior to presenting them
at the informal conference.

 "The purpose of an informal conference is to provide persons with
an interest an opportunity to comment on the permit application.  The
Chief of the Division of Mines and Reclamation will consider those
comments in making a decision on the application," Lisa Morris wrote in a
letter to OU Vice President for Administration Gary North on July 16,

 On March 2, 1988, ODNR Director Joseph J. Sommer wrote in a press
release, "Due to the unique nature of the Dysart Woods area, we felt that
the most prudent course of action would be to allow time for further
study.  As Director of the Department of Natural Resources I want to make
sure that nothing is done to harm Dysart Woods  a precious part of Ohio's
natural heritage."