For Immediate Release: October 22, 1999
Contact: Chad Kister 594-7287 or or

Ohio EPA agrees to second Dysart public hearing

 The Ohio EPA said it would hold a second public hearing about Ohio Valley Coal Company's waste disposal site: a necessary permit for the company to mine under Dysart Woods, the finest stand of ancient forest left in unglaciated Ohio.
 Responding to Dysart Defenders Coordinator Chad Kister's request for a second public hearing about the proposal to fill a formerly pristine valley with hundreds of feet of polluted waste coal, the Ohio EPA has agreed to hold the hearing for the Permit to Install the waste facility, the 401 permit to destroy the creek, which is waters of the state, and the NPDES permit to pollute Captina Creek.

 The waste would come from mining activities that the company wants to do underneath the watershed of Dysart Woods, and under the forest itself.  

 An internal email from SE Ohio EPA employee Abbot Stevenson to EPA permit specialist Mike Smith in Columbus on Oct. 13 reads, "Rick and I just had an imromptu meeting with Greg Smith, DSW (Division of Surface Water) attorney.  Issues to be discussed tomorrow between Greg and Bob Karl are:
1) should there be another public hearing due to the lack of mitigation at the first public hearing and likelihood of appeal by Chad Kister and
2) should the 401 be issued without the PTI and NPDES."
 EPA public affairs specialist Kevin Johnson said that Kister's comments at the public hearing prompted the EPA to consider a second public hearing.

 On October 14, Kister faxed Mike Smoth a letter stating, "Ohio EPA must assign a use designation as a headwater stream to the West tributary of Perkins Run with a standing of Exceptional warm-water habitat.  The whole watershed is critical for protecting Captina Creek, which has the highest IBI score possible.  To allow the destruction of a mile of headwater stream right next to the creek would violate the Clean Water Act and Ohio EPA regulations.

 "Clearly, the EPA should designate the stream with a use designation before allowing it to be destroyed.  To allow the destruction of undesignated use waters is a wholly corrupt and inept way of regulating our waters.  It means that headwaters do not count when in fact they make up the vast majority of the watershed and are critical to the health of Captina Creek.

 "Further, since Ohio Valley Coal Company bulldozed the size before OEPA had completed its analysis, how can we possible know what was in the stream.  OEPA must deny this permit or it will set a dangerous precedent to allow the destruction of areas before they could be analyzed for their ecological value to a Captina Creek and the greater ecosystem.

 "Also, OEPA must hold a public hearing so that the public can comment on this totally new mitigation plan that we had no idea was even an issue prior to today.  We need time to analyze the creek that is being offered to the state for its ecological value.  I need much more time to comment and Dysart Defenders has hundreds of members that also need to look at this.  Clearly a public hearing is necessary.

 "OEPA must delay this until all permits are decided because to do it peacemeal might open the state to a takings lawsuit, and could illegally influence the outcome of the other permits. home page