For Immediate Release
July 31, 1999

contact: Chad Kister: (740) 594-7287 or or
See the Dysart Defenders web site:
Dysart Defenders to deliver petitions Monday morning opposing mining permit

 Dysart Defenders Coordinator Chad Kister will deliver petitions to the Ohio Division of Mines and Reclamations at 10 a.m. Monday, August 2, opposing Ohio Valley Coal Company permit D-0360-9 to mine underneath Dysart Woods.  Dysart Defenders will hold a press conference in the ODMR's lobby in Building H of the ODNR building Complex at 10 a.m., then will deliver the petitions.  The building is at 1855 Fountain Square Court Building H (off Morris Road, take a right just before the Ohio Tuxedo sign.

 Media are encouraged to cover this most important issue as the ODMR is poised to pass a permit that would allow coal mining directly underneath the last ancient forest left of its type in Ohio.  Dysart Woods is among the last .004 percent of the remaining ancient forest in Ohio, and it is the last significant old-growth mixed-mesophytic forest left in Ohio.  This is the forest type that stretches from Ashtabula in the far northeast corner of the state all the way to Cincinnati.

 ODMR records show that the mining would not only undermine thousands of feet of Dysart Woods, but that it goes under the largest tract of virgin forest on the land.  The ODMR had previously said that the permit was 400 yards away from the old growth forest, and this was widely reported in the media.  Last year the ODMR passed permit 7 that allowed the mining of 500 acres of the watershed buffer zone of Dysart Woods.

 "It is unconscionable that Ohio Valley Coal Company is trying to mine directly underneath Dysart Woods," Kister said.  "With Ronald Kolbash in charge of regulating the mining industry, what hope to we have?"  Kolbash is a life-long coal industry spokesperson and lobbyist who was appointed to head mining regulation in Ohio by Governor Bob Taft.  Kolbash submitted pages of comments to the ODMR opposing any protection of Dysart Woods in late 1998.

 Dysart Defenders have collected hundreds of signatures opposing this permit, and thousands of signatures supporting the organization's appeal of the Lands Unsuitable Petition.  This pro-active effort may also block permit 9, as it was filed ahead of the permit.  Dysart Defenders will also show a 15 foot cloth petition at the press conference and to the ODMR that is full of signatures demanding that the state of Ohio protect Dysart Woods.  That petition will be shown to the Ohio Reclamation at their August 24 hearing on the standing of Dysart Defenders, and will be given to the commission at the main hearing for the appeal.

 Dysart Woods is among the most endangered ecosystem in the world according to the United States Department of Interior.  Yet there has been woefully little coverage of this issue recently, as the threat to the ancient forest is greater than ever.  Media are encouraged to increase coverage commensurate with the global importance of this Ohio-based forest in danger.

 "It has been citizen activists that have done the most to protect Dysart Woods," Kister said.  "And we need help now more than ever as OVCC is now trying to mine directly underneath the ancient forest.  What will we say to our children if we let these 400 year old trees and the magnificent forest of Dysart Woods fall to mining?"