Dysart Defenders granted standing by Ohio Reclamation Commission

Dysart Defenders was granted standing with full party status in the statewide organization's appeal of the Lands Unsuitable Petition decision and its intervention into Ohio Valley Coal Company (OVCC)'s appeal of the same decision.

 In related news, the Ohio Division of Mines and Reclamations decided to only fine OVCC $500 for one of the coal company's violations of Ohio environmental law, and decided not to fine OVCC for its other violation of the still pending permit D-0360-8.  OVCC illegally destroyed a valley and constructed a waste treatment facility to process mining waste that would come from underneath Dysart Woods.  Where is the accountability for the coal companies?  The ODMR is caving in to political pressures with Coal Company lobbyist Ronald Kolbash as head of mining regulation for the state of Ohio.

 The Dysart Defenders standing decision is a victory for the organization and shows that we are a serious, legitimate statewide organization devoted to the protection of Dysart Woods.  Dysart Defenders will enter as a full appellant and intevenor in the Lands Unsuitable Petition appeals.

 A phone conference is scheduled Tuesday.  The main hearing is scheduled February 8 through February 11, 2000 and February 15 through February 18, 2000.  Other motions and potential pre-hearings are likely before the main hearing.

 The following is scanned directly from the decision.  All emphasis was in the original decision.
 "The Lands Unsuitable Petitions were filed by the Buckeye Forest Council and the Ohio University. On November 30, 1998, the Division Chief issued a decision designating a portion of the petition area as unsuitable for surface mining and designating a portion of the petition area as unsuitable for the underground mining of all coal seams above the elevation of the Meigs Creek #9 seam.  On November 30, 1998, the Chief also rendered a decision declaring moot the Ohio Valley Coal Company's, American Energy Corporation's and Consolidated bind Company's request for an exemption of the Pittsburgh #8 coal seam from the lands unsuitability designation process.

 On January 21, 1999, upon motion, Ohio University was granted intervenor status in this appeal. On March 18, 1999, upon motion Buckeye Forest Council was also granted intervenor status in this appeal. On May 20, 1999, upon motion, Chad Kister was granted intervenor status in this appeal.

 On February 16, 1999, Dysart Defenders moved to intervene into this action. Dysart Defenders is an unincorporated association interested in the preservation of Dysart Woods. On April 21, 1999, a hearing on Dysart Defenders' intervention request commenced. The Record of that hearing was held open and the parties engaged in discovery regarding the identity and function of this organization. The hearing reconvened on August 24, 1999, at which time, the Commission heard additional testimony and received documentary evidence regarding the organization known as Dysart Defenders.

 The Commission FINDS that the Dysart Defenders is an unincorporated group of individuals organized as an association, with the common goal of preserving Dysart Woods. The Commission FINDS that Dysart Defenders has an interest which is, or may be, adversely affected by the outcome of this proceeding. The Commission FINDS that Dysart Defenders has sufficient standing to qualify as an intervenor in this matter. The Commission further FINDS that Chad Kister, as the Coordinator of the statewide Chapter of Dysart Defenders, was authorized to file for intervention into this appeal on behalf of Dysart Defenders.

WHEREFORE, in accordance with O.A.C. §1513-3-07, the Commission hereby GRANTS Dysart Defenders' Motion to Intervene, and Dysart Defenders shall be permitted to participate in this proceeding with full-party status.
JOHN R. VELEY, Chairman, Reclamation Commission"