For Immediate Release
July 12, 1999

Contact: Chad Kister (740) 594-7287 or or

ODMR admits OVCC permit 9 goes under old growth forest

 After repeatedly claiming that Ohio Valley Coal Company permit D-0360-9 was 400 feet from the old growth forest area, the Ohio Division of Mines and Reclamations (ODMR) now says that their revised map boundaries of Dysart Woods show the permit to go underneath the old growth forest.  The permit would allow mining thousands of feet into Dysart Woods.

 "The ODMR clearly needs to deny permit 9 that would undermine the last significant old growth forest of its type in Ohio," said Dysart Defenders coordinator Chad Kister.

 A recent internal ODMR email from George Mychkovsky reads, "Due to the revised limits, D-0360-9 is located immediately beneath a ... portion of the southernmost OGF (Old Growth Forest) area.  I discussed this issue with Scott Stiteler, and he concurred with me."  The bolded words were in the original email by the ODMR.

 At a Dysart Defenders hearing July 8, 1999, the Ohio Reclamation Commission decided to postpone the hearing on the standing of Dysart Defenders to August 24.  Ohio Valley Coal Company had filed a motion to dismiss the intervention of Dysart Defenders into OVCC's appeal of the Lands Unsuitable Petition because of a purported failure by the organization to produce documents.

 "OVCC, a secretive company with virtually no public accountability has the gall to claim that Dysart Defenders failed to reveal information about the organization to the coal company," Kister said.  "Dysart Defenders is about as open as an organization can be.  We put all of our activities on the web, fax out thousands of press releases and invited everyone to our events and meetings which we publicize as widely as we can."

 The Ohio Reclamation Commission denied OVCC's motion, and instead rescheduled the hearing, while chastising OVCC for not working closer with the Ohio Reclamation Commission before requesting such drastic action.

 "We hope that if there are problems you call our hearing officer and work with her a little closely on some of the evidence that you really need.  That's the decision," said the Ohio Reclamation Commission.

 OVCC's lead attorney, Alvin McKenna called Dysart Defenders "animals" at the July 8 hearing.

 OVCC attorneys poured through thousands upon thousands of pages of documents provided by Kister at the hearing, and thousands of pages more that Kister brought to the coal company attorney offices in Columbus.  Kister copied more than a thousand pages of documents that were delivered to the OVCC on top of the documents already provided.

 OVCC intends to depose Kister again Friday along with several other Dysart Defenders members.  Dysart Defenders is organizing a fact-finding mission to Dysart Woods this weekend to search for more ancient forest outside of the existing drawn lines.  Aerial photos indicate that much more ancient forests exists outside of the lines recognized by the ODMR, which should prompt the agency to further review the permit application.

 Dysart Defenders has also filed a motion to delay any decision on Permit 9 until after the appeals of the Lands Unsuitable Petition decision has been fully heard.  But the ODMR has yet to agree on such a delay, even though the LUP was filed ahead of 9, and should take precedence.