Potomac Riverkeeper Appeals the Surface Mine Board Decision on Quarry Permit

Photo by Tusik Only

Potomac Riverkeeper Seeks the Reversal of the Board’s Decision

Berkeley County, WV – After careful review of the Surface Mine Board final ruling on North Mountain Shale’s quarry permit, Potomac Riverkeeper, along with Washington Heritage Trail, Inc. and Gerrardstown Presbyterian Church, has filed an appeal with the Berkeley County Circuit Court. The quarry permit as remanded by the Board is not protective enough to adequately control sediment discharge. The Board also prohibited arguments challenging the inadequate analysis by West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) on the impact of the quarry operations on sites listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

“The Board’s decision ignores the fact that North Mountain Shale intends to use chemical flocculent to control sediment pollution. This was not disclosed in the permit application. The citizens of Gerrardstown did not have this information when addressing their concerns during the public comment period,” stated Upper Potomac River Manager Brent Walls. “Together with the recent disappointing decision of the Environmental Quality Board, both final rulings do not protect the headwaters of Mill Creek from the pollution effects of sediment.”

Gerrardstown is considered to be a significant historical community which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. “Gerrardstown has so many unique historical structures in a virtually untouched rural setting. This is the very reason the Washington Heritage Trail runs through this area. It is extremely disappointing that the Board and the State are ignoring this and trampling on our right to challenge the impact analysis,” stated XXX of Washington Heritage Trail.

During the public comment period, WVDEP received nearly 800 comments in opposition to the draft permit. Hundreds of local residents attended the public meetings in the spring of 2010, where 80 people spoke against the proposed quarry operation, with only one speaking in its favor. This appeal is being filed to give voice to the residents of Gerrardstown who were denied the opportunity to challenge use of chemical flocculants and the inadequate impact analysis.

The appeal filed with the Berkeley County Circuit Court will be a review of the facts as presented in the evidentiary hearings. No new testimony will be heard or submitted in the case.