With 24 miles of hiking trails, 16 miles of APV trails, and 8 miles of horseback riding trails, the Perry State Forest is the county’s foremost recreational and economic asset, beloved by local residents and other Ohioans who have made this the most popular public riding area in the state.
Unfortunately, a proposed plan to strip mine approximately 500 acres of the Perry State Forest threatens to destroy this special place. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) is currently reviewing a permit application from CCU Coal and Construction (formerly, Oxford Mining Company, which was sold to CCU afters its parent company, Westmoreland Coal Company, filed for bankruptcy in October). The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) has already issued a surface water permit.
But, there’s still time to stop this reckless project! Friends of Perry State Forest is organizing to save Perry State Forest. We’re made up of local residents and business owners, APV riders, and other supporters who want to protect this public land. We’re currently raising funds to help cover the costs of technical experts and legal fees as part of an appeal filed January 22 with the Environmental Review Appeals Commission, challenging a Clean Water Act permit issued by the OEPA. This coal mine is a bad deal for our community:
The proposed coal mine would hurt local landowners and businesses, drive down property values, damage Perry County's local economy and tourism, degrade our environment, and rob our community of a forest enjoyed by so many families and individuals. Listen to this WOSU radio story
or watch this ABC6 story
to learn more.
Little protection is being offered to area landowners. At the public meeting in June 2018, ODNR officials explained that local residents would hear and feel explosions up to 1 mile away and that the company can mine within 300 feet of homes and property lines. Water and air quality could also be impaired. The blasting, vehicle traffic, and other activities will be devastating to the quality of life of local residents, especially some who rely exclusively on water wells, which could be damaged. ODNR has said its "not their job" to consider the social and economic impacts of the project.This coal mine is a bad deal for Ohio:
Local landowners, businesses, farmers, and everyone who uses and lives near the Perry State Forest will be affected if this permit is approved, but it could also affect Ohio taxpayers.
Oxford's bankruptcy and subsequent sale to the newly formed CCU, which has incurred substantial financial obligations and liabilities in association with the Oxford and Buckingham mines, casts doubt on the future financial success of the project.
Moreover, Ohio’s Reclamation Forfeiture Fund (the pool of money that holds company bond payments, which covers the costs of reclamation should a company forfeit its permits) is completely unprepared to deal with a sector-wide decline in the coal industry, which means fewer companies are paying into the fund, at the same time the risk of forfeited mine sites and bankruptcy increases. Through the RFF, CCU would only need to pay a bond of $2,500 per acre for reclamation in advance, although the actual costs of reclamation typically exceed $7,000 per acre. The RFF is severely underfunded and Oxford/CCU's mines already have up to $155 million in reclamation liabilities in Ohio. The fund has only $22.2 million available to cover these and other unreclaimed permits.
Despite only having been formed in December, ODNR officials say CCU is eligible to use the RFF for the Perry forest project, and that the department lacks the authority to consider a company's financial security as part of the permitting process.This coal mine is a bad deal for future generations:
The local community has spoken loud and clear that they want the 60-year old Perry State Forest to be protected for their children to enjoy. ODNR has received more than 1,000 comments opposing the project by citizens who want a brighter future for Perry County.WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT to help stop this mine and protect the Perry State Forest! Help us fund our legal appeal and stand up for our community and our public land!
$5, $10, $50, $100—any amount helps! Please donate now!
Speaker's aide absent from meeting
(Perry County Tribune, 8/14/19)Speaker's aide meets with concerned residents
(Perry County Tribune, 6/19/19)On this Earth Day, what drives our energy priorities? Farmers join opposition to coal mining in Perry State Forest
(The Columbus Dispatch, 4/22/19)ODNR holds second public meeting on coal mine
(Perry County Tribune, 3/6/19)Residents urge Ohio to stop proposed strip mine in Perry State Forest
(WOSU, 3/5/19)ODNR holds public meeting in response to Perry State Forest mining permit
(The New Political, 3/1/19)Second public meeting set on debate over mining in Perry State Forest
(Columbus Dispatch, 2/22/19)ODNR to hold meeting over coal mine
(Perry County Tribune, 2/13/19)Groups file appeal to stop coal mine
(Perry County Tribune, 1/30/19)Citizens appeal EPA permit for coal strip mining in Perry County forest
(Zanesville Times Recorder, 1/26/19)Editorial: State fund for mine reclamation needs attention
(The Columbus Dispatch, 1/2/19)Oxford mine in Perry County nearing after EPA approval
(Zanesville Times Recorder, 12/30/18)Kasich's $5M raid and coal downturn could leave Ohioans paying for mine reclamation
(The Columbus Dispatch, 12/26/18)Friends of Perry State Forest express concerns
(Perry County Tribune, 12/12/18)State should protect forest from bankrupt company
(The Columbus Dispatch, 11/20/18)Friends gearing up for a fight
(Perry County Tribune, 10/31/18)Ohio strip-mining proposal not likely to be affected by bankruptcy filing, firm says
(The Columbus Dispatch 10/9/18)Strip-mining proposed on part of state forest in Perry County
(The Columbus Dispatch, 9/26/18)Public meeting scheduled for proposed coal mine
(Perry County Tribune, 9/19/18)Friends of Perry Forest to hold meeting over proposed strip mine
(Perry County Tribune, 8/8/18)Coal, environmental groups urge return of Ohio mine clean up funds
(Energy News Network, 7/16/18)Families and business owners near Perry State Forest upset over proposed coal mine
(ABC 6, 7/12/18)Residents concerned with Oxford's plan to strip mine Perry Forest
(Zanesville Times Recorder, 6/7/18)Ohio diverts money from coal mine cleanup fund as risk of closures rises
(Energy News Network, 5/29/18) Do More:
1) Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/FriendsofPerryStateForest
. We regularly share updates about the project and upcoming meetings.
2) Contact ODNR with your concerns. To send your comments, go to https://theoec.org/blog/protecting-perry-state-forest/