Bellaire, Ohio — An eastern Ohio coal company withdrew its application to mine about 16 acres under a portion of Barkcamp State Park in Belmont County, citing conditions “not economically mineable.”
“The mining of these reserves became economically infeasible due to the unexpected and unnecessary delays of the Ohio DNR in failing to issue the necessary permit in a timely manner,” wrote Gary Broadbent, assistant general counsel and media director for Ohio Valley’s parent company, Murray Energy Corp., of St. Clairsville, Ohio.
“The Ohio Valley Coal Co. simply could not afford to have its employees and equipment idled while ODNR deliberately delayed the processing of this routine permit application,” Broadbent claimed in an email to Ohio Outdoor News.
Broadbent said Ohio Valley filed its permit Aug. 22, 2014, and the ODNR “had the ability to approve it within 61 days. We do not know why the ODNR failed to approve our permit application in a timely manner and, therefore, we cannot comment,” Broadbent wrote.
The ODNR uses due dilgence on what each case entails “and can’t rush the process,” DNR spokesman Matt Eiselstein said.
A typical process involves a 15-day initial review of submitted mining permit applications, followed by a period of revisions and then as much as a 240-day DNR technical review before an application is approved or declined, Eiselstein said.
Ohio Valley had sought to mine “a small corridor” of coal reserves under Barkcamp State Park, which would have allowed Ohio Valley’s Powhatan No. 6 mine to extract coal beyond 2017, Broadbent wrote.
The coal operation would have employed about 756 miners plus secondary support jobs, he wrote.
“The delay . . . prevented us from mining these coal reserves and preserving these jobs,” Broadbent wrote.
University studies show that mining spin-off of secondary jobs is up to 11 to 1. Ohio Valley Coal accounts for 9,072 jobs in the State of Ohio, according to Broadbent.
Ohio Valley Coal said there are no other recoverable coal reserves in close proximity. The company permanently sealed that portion of the mine and relocated operations 10 miles away, Broadbent wrote.
The company mines bituminous coal used primarily for coal-fired power plants.