The Ohio Division of Mineral Resources (ODMR) scheduled a public hearing Thursday, September 19 at 6:30 p.m. at the Belmont Technical College in St. Clairsville for a permit exponentially more destructive than any yet seen for Dysart Woods: the -12 permit that would undermine every single acre of Dysart Woods.
Dysart Woods is among the last .004 percent of remaining ancient forest in Ohio. It is the most significant stand of mixed mesophytic virgin forest left in Ohio, and is among the most endangered ecosystem in the world. Dysart Woods is owned by Ohio University and is a National Natural Landmark. But Ohio Valley Coal Company has a pending permit to mine right under Dysart Woods.
In directly undermining Dysart Woods with longwall and room and pillar mining, Ohio Valley Coal Company's D-0360-12 permit (-12 for short) would cause subsidence, and dewatering of the trees. Subsidence is an earthquake like settling of the ground into the mine voids that directly topples trees and leave sink holes such as those that recently formed under Interstate 70 near Dysart Woods. The mining would drain the water table that the trees are dependent upon. Underground streams and springs would fall through fissures in the strata caused by mining, making the water far too deep for the trees roots to reach.
Dysart Defenders is looking for organizers to set up slide presentations around Ohio to prepare people for the hearing. Dysart Defenders has two active appeals of the lands unsuitability for mining petition, and an appeal of OVCC's coal waste dump just upstream from the endangered Eastern Hellbender, America's largest aquatic salamander. The waste dump is for coal OVCC wants to mine from under Dysart Woods. People can contact Dysart Defenders Coordinator Chad Kister at firstname.lastname@example.org if they are interested in hosting a slide presentation.
"We cannot give up now," Kister said. "Dysart Woods has survived 42 years of threats thanks to the valiant efforts of hundreds of people and dozens of organizations over the years. We cannot let the 400+ year old trees down now."
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[ Dysart Defenders]