Ohio longwall fate expected in February

THE saga over Ohio Valley Coal's Powhatan No. 6 longwall in Ohio’s Belmont County may finally end with a decision on the fate of the mine to be revealed by the State Appellate Court by the end of February.

Angie Tomlinson

Athens News reported an attorney for Ohio Valley Coal said Tuesday the company was confident that the 7th District Court of Appeals would reject a legal challenge to the company's coal-mining permit, filed in June by forest advocacy group Buckeye Forest Council (BFC).

BFC is trying to prevent Ohio Valley from longwalling beneath Dysart Woods – old-growth woods owned by Ohio University.

BFC claims mining beneath the woods would reduce groundwater and damage or kill the trees.

In August, Ohio Valley Coal said in a statement that the group's complaints were a "rehash" of "tired and worn arguments" and "lowing over the same old ground".

Ohio Valley Coal has said that if the mine's development advancement doesn't stay ahead of the longwall, adverse conditions could develop, including roof problems and other safety hazards for its miners. Additionally, it noted, the granting of the motion may "threaten the very survival of the mine and the 500 high-paying jobs that it provides."